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The Secret of the Spanish Pig
Posted by Ciska Peters , April 1 at 00:08
Previous year in October I organized an incentive in Sevilla for the VGS. Association of large butchers. The advantage of organising a study travel is that you frequently learn something about it. For many years I love the absolutely delicious Jamon Iberico. For me it is equal to the same category as caviar, lobster and truffle. It is a pity that it is just as expensive.

It was therefore not entirely coincidental that I arrived with the butchers at the pork factory of Sanchez Romero Carvajal, the top brand of Cinco Jotas. The pigs that "provide" the Jamon Iberico are of a very protected breed that walk around in the oak groves of Andalucia and Extremadura in Southern Spain. Per hectare up to 15 pigs are allowed to walk around. This Iberian pig can bridge the summer with little food and water but in the autumn its appetite knows no borders and feeds himself mainly with acorns. Secret of this acorn diet is that it gives to the moving animals a thick layer of grease, which penetrates into their muscles. Because of this the flesh gets marbled and gets it its unique taste. It is also healthy, the composition of the grease is similar to olive oil. At the end of the "montanera" the acorn season the animals are slaughtered and then starts the very laborious maturation process which lasts about 20 to 24 months.

The final result of this product is rather expensive and it is good to know where you must pay attention to at purchasing it. If the pigs only have eaten the acorns the ham may be sold under the protected top name "Jamon Iberico de Bellota”. If they are fed with other fodder then the hams are called "Jamon Iberico Recebo". There is a firm difference in value. There is also a difference in value between the less tender front leg, the "Paleta Jamon Iberico" and the delicious hind-leg, the Jamon Iberico the Bellota. The best thing to do is to buy a complete leg and place it on a holder (jambonero) and cut this one yourself.

And what is the well-known Serranoham you might ask. That one is of another category, both price wise and taste wise. For this reason the head of this story is in fact not correct. These pigs have no secret at all. Serranoham is made of ordinary white pigs from mega breedings. They are the modal grunters from the Spanish pig industry. No, then the “prima-donna’s” from Jabugo and surroundings with their black little hoofs (Pata Negra). They have had a lovely life and in return they give many things back again. But cross equally.

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