Jamón ibérico is a culinary treasure from Spain which originates exclusively from the meat of black-hoofed Iberian pigs. The finest of all Jamón Ibérico is made from a special breed of Iberian pigs which are fed, at the last winter of their lives, with only acorns (bellotas) and are free to roam in the pastures. These black hoofed pigs (Pata Negra) are raised according to strict regulations, which results in a product that is considered by many as one of the purest, most luxurious foods around.
In summer, these agile Iberian pigs roam the Dehesa, covering up to 40 kms a day to find drinking water. Thanks to all this roaming, they develop thin legs and strong thighs, which supports their considerable weight gain between the months of October and February, a season known as the montanera. The varied terrain means that the pigs get plenty of exercise, which allows the acorn oils to infiltrate the meat and produce that utterly amazing umami taste.
The first thing you notice when you look at Bellota ham is the colour — a rich shade of ruby. When the ham hits your palate, that's when the fireworks start, from that umami hit to the to the sweet nuttiness that fills your mouth.
Ibérico de Bellota is a low-calorie, vitamin-rich food that contains 50% more protein than fresh meat. Did you know that 50 grams of Acorn-fed Ibérico ham has only about 150 calories? Iberian ham is also an antioxidant and is high in vitamin E and interestingly, when enjoyed with tomato its beneficial effects are doubled! Like olive oil, the quality of acorn-fed Iberian ham fat is excellent. It contains over 50% Oleic Acid, which facilitates the production of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the body, while reducing LDL (“bad cholesterol”).
There are different grades of ham, each of which is strictly controlled, recorded and marked. To receive the coveted black label marked '100% Ibérico de Bellota', the pig must be pure-bred, have roamed free-range and been fed only on acorns during the montanera. Good examples would be our hand carved Joselito Gran Reserva Bellota ham or Cinco Jotas, also hand carved in Canada, acorn fed ham, both coming from the finest producers in Spain and aged for at least three years. Out of this World good in both cases.
Another kind of ham that comes from free roaming, acorn-eating pigs but aren't necessarily pure-bred Iberian, is this lovely example by Marcos, which is 75% Ibérico. After that comes jamón ibérico cebo de campo, where the pigs are at least 50% Iberian and have been roaming free and grazing, but have also been given fodder, such as the delicious ham produced by Señorio de Olivenza.
Regardless of which one you choose you will be impressed by the melt-in-the-mouth quality of all Ibérico hams. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at all about the largest range of Ibérico ham in Canada!