Iberian ham differs from other hams for its texture, aroma and taste. A delicate taste, between salty and sweet, very umami and with a very pleasant aroma that stimulates the appetite. This exclusive taste is mainly due to the diet of the Iberian pig. That’s why we explain to you what the pigs are fed and how this results in the different qualities of Iberian ham, from Pata Negra ham to Iberian Cebo ham.
Different diet, different Iberian ham.
Iberian pigs fed on acorns
The Iberian pig fed on acorns lives its entire rearing in the dehesa, the natural ecosystem of the Mediterranean forest – and shrubland found only in the Iberian Peninsula and composed of trees of the Quercus genus such as the holm oak, the Portuguese oak and the cork oak.
This pig feeds all year round of grasses, flowers and roots and primarily of acorns in the Montanera season. Pata Negra ham comes from these pigs, pigs that are genetically 100% Iberian.
Iberian pigs from Cebo de Campo
The term “”Iberian field fattening pig”” refers to Iberian pigs that are reared extensively on grazing land with natural pasture and feed of fodder and legumes. The difference with the acorn-fed Iberian pigs is that the free range-fed pigs do not eat acorns and have a lower Iberian gene content, between 50 and 75%. The Iberian ham of Cebo de Campo, which you can recognize by its green label, comes from the Iberian pigs of Cebo de Campo.
Iberian fattening pigs
The Iberian fattening pig is reared on an intensive farm and fed with cereals and legumes. Their gene share in the Iberian breed is between 50 and 75%. The Iberian Cebo hams are made from these pigs, which are the cheapest Iberian hams and can be recognized by their white label.
As you can read in our article on the Montanera, during this period, between November and March, the Iberian pigs feed mainly on the acorns of the holm, cork and Portuguese oaks. In the dehesa, the Iberian pig not only has a natural diet, but every day it covers large areas in foraging, which means that it is constantly moving, making its meat healthier and more digestible.