Welcome back on a delicious journey of discovering taste.
When you hear someone talking about Spain, what taste comes to your mind? Cheese? Seafood? Turrones? Olives? Wine? Cava? Sangria? Jamon?
Whatever you think of, I am sure it is tasty.
Given all the variety, you can speak about tastes of Spain for hours.
Just a short note, jamon is sometimes referred to as cured ham.
Where shall I start?
Well, when you are writing a blog about delicious food, you might end up on a presentation of a book of one of the most influential specialists in jamon. If you have ever been to Barcelona, you must have seen one of his stores. I’m referring to Enrique Tomás. http://www.enriquetomas.com
So what did I learn about jamón and Enrique?
What is called jamon, in its essence, is an Iberic pig that grows from 200 gr to 100 kg in just one year and then puts on some more weight while roaming the mountain forests eating acorns. These pigs are taken into the forests at the distance from lakes, or other water resources, that is sufficient for them to get muscles while walking to satisfy their thirst. In four months they should reach 150 kg. The ones that don’t pass this limit, end up as Iberic jamon (jamón ibérico). The ones that do pass – Acorn jamon (jamón de bellota).
In the course of production, 50% of weight dries out. It takes about 2 years to produce Iberic jamon and about 3 years – acorn jamon.
There are 4 main origins of acorn jamon: Salamanca, Segovia, Huelva, and Extremadura.
The truth is that it is not so important where the pig was brought up, the important factor of the future quality of jamon is a cook, because it is the cook who decides how much fat to leave, how much salt to add, how many days the meat should stay marinating in salt, if it should be smoked.
Jamon is always sold through trust. And whenever you buy it, you should try it first.
If you bring a leg of jamon home, you should never cover it with fat that you cut off and it suffocates the meat. Neither should you expose it to heat. Besides, once cut open, jamon must be eaten within 21 days.
With cava and bread sticks! Both leave you alert of taste of jamon. You shouldn’t eat it with “pan con tomate” – traditional white bread with spread tomato and olive oil as it has strong taste worth of an individual dish.
What does it taste like? Let’s sum it up!
Iberic jamon tends to be sweeter, earthier, and fatter than acorn jamon.
Acorn jamon from Extremadura is usually the sweetest of its group, slightly harder and with a stronger smell.
Acorn jamon from Huelva is soft and leaves a strong aftertaste.
Acorn jamon of the registered origin Los pedroches is soft, almost fruity, and very intense.
Does it sound delicious? Absolutely!
The last fact about jamon. It seems to me, it is interesting to know that Enrique Tomás eats around 200 gr of jamon daily and has already tasted more than 8000 types of it! That is true passion, isn’t it?
Do you have a passion that stong? I have passion for taste!
Stay tuned as the next time I’ll tell you about another delicious discovery, the one that was inspired by traveling. 😉