Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reference: Spanish Iberian Ham

The way a pig is raised and what they eat makes a huge difference in the quality of the ham coming from the animal. Spanish Iberian hams are produced from a protected breed of pig descending from wild boars. These pigs are raised in herds instead of pens, out in the open, running free, grazing on the wild chestnuts and acorns, products of the wild forest environment, and herbs that are available to them. In the winter they forage for acorns from the cork oak with their long black snouts, in season and plentiful in the Iberian forest, and during that season, they put on their final weight.

There are three different types of Iberian ham, depending on the time of year the pig is born, August, Christmas, or Spring. The pigs have dark colored skin, they are brown or black in color, and have very little hair. They are slaugtered, depending on the time of year that they are born, between 8 and 13 months of age. The hams coming from pigs that have spent their last months out running in the forest, fattening up on foraged acorns are the ones that have the best flavor.

The Spanish Iberian ham has become a reference for the best cured ham in Europe. Here in Lyon, we are lucky to have a direct source for this type of ham at Les Halles.

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Blogger wheresmymind said...

Do you have to rehydrate these?

3:13 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

No, in fact they are cured and sliced to be eaten as is. Imagine thin slices of this with fresh cantaloupe, rolled into bite sized bundles to serve with drinks before dinner, in salads, tossed with pasta, topping a soup, on a sandwich, etc!

9:58 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Well, only on pasta or a sandwich if you are really feeling decadent...

10:11 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger doggerelblogger said...

I'm so glad you've enabled comments, Lucy!

PS: loved your post about Bernachon chocolatiers - I went to their website and got their fax # - I'm going to try and place an order when we get back from NYC in 2 weeks. Wish me luck!

7:22 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

I'm sure it will be excellent!

1:58 PM, May 02, 2006  

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