Jamon tasting by Indoguna at The Prime Society

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Bone-in)

I had the most fortunate fortune of being invited to a Jamon tasting by Indoguna. They were introducing a new product called the Lomo Iberico Bellota. This is basically a ham from the loin of the Black Iberian pig which are fed acorns. Essentially from the same porker that gives you the world-famous Jamon Iberico de Bellota.

Currently, the only company in the world that is allowed to import Jamon to the US (and hence Singapore) is Embutidos y Jamones Fermín, S.L. and we were very fortunate to have Raul, their representative, on hand to explain the finer details of what is the most expensive ham in the world.

2009November14-Jamon-8

There are basically 3 main types of Jamon that we should know:

  1. Jamon Serrano. This is a dry-cured Spanish ham made from normal white pigs. Much like the Italian prosciutto crudo, it is either eaten as is or used in cooking, such as Serrano-wrapped Veal stuffed with goat cheese. It does not quite have the same pedigree as the Jamon Iberico.
  2. Jamon Iberico. This is another dry-cured Spanish ham but it is made from the Black Iberian pig. According to Wikipedia, the Jamon Iberico de Recebo is pastured and fed a mix of grain and acorns while the Jamon Iberico de Pienso is fed only grain.
  3. Jamon Iberico de Bellota. The final and the highest quality of Jamon Iberico. These Iberian pigs are fed only acorn during their last few months to qualify for the “Bellota” label. They are free range, i.e. allowed to roam the acorn forests to feed themselves. This combination of exercise and acorn diet gives the pigs their unique marbling and a high content of Oleic Acid. According to Raul, these pigs are called “Olive Trees with legs” in Spain because their percentage of good fat is similar to that of olives. The ratio of pigs to acres of forest is 2:1. The final ham is then dry-cured for 36 months.

All Jamon Iberico are also called “Pata Negra” because the pigs have black hooves.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota by Embutidos y Jamones Fermín, S.L.

In the tasting, two types of Jamon Iberico de Bellota were featured: bone-in and without bone. There was a stark contrast in the color and the taste between the two despite the fact that they were from the same pig and were both aged 36 months. We pondered over it for a while, ruminating (har!) until we gave up and asked Raul why.

The Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Boneless) was a huge slab of deep, dark red slab with a very concentrated flavor. The reason for this concentration is that as the bone is removed, the thick layer of fat surrounding the meat is also removed. Hence, the meat loses moisture and the flavors are more concentrated (and saltier).

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Boneless)

On the other han trotter, the bone-in version is surrounded by a thick layer of fat which protects the meat from moisture loss. Raul said that they leave as much as a finger’s thickness of fat around the leg.

The result is a richer, more luscious meat that literally melts in your mouth like butter.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Bone-in)

Bone-in or boneless, both are delicious. Choosing one over the other is merely exercising your preference. My favorite way of eating them is with bread rubbed with garlic and dribbled with a good Olive oil.

What about the Lomo Iberico Bellota? As mentioned, this is a ham from the loin (not metaphorically) of the Iberico pig, seasoned with Paprika (the ham, not the pig).

There were mixed reviews mainly because of the serving size. Initially where there were lots of visitors, the Lomo was sliced thin so as to spread the love. This is also because it is a very expensive product. Unfortunately, this didn’t show the Lomo to its fullest potential as the serving was to small to bring its flavors.

It was only near the close of the tasting where the crowd had thinned somewhat, did the slices get thicker. This was when the salty, rich and spicy flavors came onto its own. A truly amazing thing.

Lomo Iberico Bellota (Pork Loin)

I was very happy to have been invited to this tasting. It was very last minute where I almost had to forgo the tasting. It was fortunate that I didn’t.

After tasting Jamon, all hams, even the Yunnan ham, have paled in comparison. It is now difficult for me to taste Parma Prosciutto without thinking about the richness of Spanish Jamon.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Bone-in)


Posted on 16th Nov 2009 in Meat, Old School, Spanish

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There Are 5 Comments

 

xiix commented on November 16, 2009 at 11:00 am


drool…!


 

thehungrycow commented on November 16, 2009 at 11:41 pm


Very informative and delicious-looking post! I like the idea of heart-friendly fats on meat.


 

[…] was disappointed with a burger joint in Cambridge but was cheered up to no end with a tasting of Jamon Iberico de Bellota. This blog was further involved in a photoshoot at […]


 

xiix commented on January 18, 2010 at 9:00 am


http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Iberico-Ham-Selfridges-Sells-Worlds-Most-Expensive-Leg-Of-Ham-For-Luxury-Food-Gourmets/Article/201001315526978?f=rss

The mother of all ham…


 

ivan commented on January 18, 2010 at 11:29 am


Actually, that’s about right for a 3-year-old Jamon. Slightly over-priced (well, it’s Selfridges…) but about there. 🙂


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