Spain is famous for its high-quality hams. The best known are the Serrano and the Jamón Ibérico (Pata Negra) – both are air-dried.
Anyone who knows the finest varieties of it will never want to enjoy others again.
With the Spanish Serrano ham
It is white pork meat. A distinction is made between Plata (silver), Oro (gold) and Gran Reserva (the best quality).
The longer the aging and air drying, the better its taste.
The Jamón Ibérico – also known as Pata Negra,
comes from the Iberian pig, the “Iberico’s”, which usually has a black hoof.
However, since this is not always the case and there are other black pig breeds in Spain, the name “Pata Negra” is not permitted for the well-known ham in Spain.
The correct name is “Jamón Ibérico”. A distinction is made between several quality levels: In any case, the ham comes from pigs that belong to at least 75 percent of the Iberico breed.
The “Ibérico’s” belong to the last breed of grazing pigs in Europe, which is believed to have descended from the primeval wild boar of the Mediterranean region. Their home are the holm and cork oak forests of Extremadura. Over time, the animals have adapted perfectly to the conditions of this habitat. Their trademark is the black claw (pata negra).
With Jamon Iberico, a distinction is not only made according to the ripening time, but also according to what the free-ranging “Ibericos” eat.
The Jamón Ibérico de Pienso comes from pigs that have only received grain as feed. With Jamón Ibérico, the pigs have gained at least 30 percent of their weight from eating acorns.
Finally, the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota denotes the highest quality level.
The pigs for this ham owe their weight exclusively to the acorn fruits and herbs.
The acorn-fed ham, the “Jamon Iberico de Bellota”, is considered the most expensive and best ham in the world.