"jamon iberico" news and stories
These days, the ultimate trophy ham is the famed Jamón Iberíco. It is made from a Spanish Black Iberian Pig that has been allowed to graze on acorns. Because of breeding and diet, the hams are noted for their unique flavor and supposedly healthy fat.
While delicious and healthy, the hams are also exceedingly expensive, retailing for about $1400 apiece. As with almost any luxury item, the incredible price tends to attract ham counterfeiters. Luckily, however, there is a definitive method for determining if one is, indeed, eating an honest-to-goodness Jamón Iberíco: unlike other breeds, Black Iberian Pigs have black trotters. Of course, clever imitators have tried to undermine this method by painting trotters with black paint, but wise connoisseurs are careful to rub the feet to ensure that the black stays on.
If you know Spanish food, or know your way around a plate of charcuterie, then you probably know about jamon serrano, the dry cured ham from Spain, similar to Italian prosciutto. Jamon serrano also has a couple of sisters, jamon jabugo, and the one that has gotten a lit bit of press lately, jamon iberico.
Jamon Iberico is made from black Iberian pigs, which are allowed to range freely in Spain's dehesa, a woodland of evergreens, and other trees and plants. The pigs graze on chestnuts and acorns. Until recently, jamon iberico has not been allowed into the US because slaughterhouses in Spain did not pass USDA sanctions. However, Fermin, a small family owned operation in Spain received approval by the USDA about two years ago. The jamones that they started curing back then are now becoming available and are scheduled to arrive in the US by early summer.
I have taken a peek at tienda.com, an online resource for Spanish foods and food products, but any orders placed for Iberian ham are set to be shipped in Winter 2007 at the earliest. And that's if you have $668 to spare!