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Understanding a Spanish delicacyJamón Ibérico
By David Raezer
When in Spain, be sure to seek out one of the country’s most famous delicacies: jamón ibérico de bellota, a seriously delicious acorn-fed, salt-cured ham. The taste is one of the most distinctive in the world — nutty, rich, slightly sweet and savory. Once you have had it, you will never forget the experience.
Here’s what you need to know:
There are two basic categories you need to be aware of, from different parts of the pig:
To ensure consistency and make identification of quality grades easier for consumers, producers attach colored tags to the hams. They are invaluable in differentiating among the different grades of products.
See our Google map of Spain’s Iberian ham-producing denominations.
In Spain, butchers do offer the whole jamón or paleta for sale, but you are likely just looking for a taste. In that case, order in increments of 100 grams (slightly less than 1/4 pound), each of which yields around 20 slices. For conversion purposes, 1000 grams (1 kilogram) is equal to 2.2 pounds.
While this is certainly enough to get you started, there is a lot more to know about Iberian ham. Get our connoisseur’s guide to jamón ibérico.
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