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Jamón Ibérico Bellota Premium DOP Extremadura 80g
Jamón of Conquerors
This black-label ibérico de bellota comes from the protected dehesas (pasture grassland with scattered oaks) of Extremadura. Fatty, with an intense mix of sweet, nutty, and salty notes, this ham is infused with the flavors of southwestern Spanish countryside.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Between the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, cork and evergreen oaks provide a bounty of acorns for the large, slender-legged Iberian pigs locally nicknamed pata negra. This special diet and free-range living result in beautifully plump hogs — the single most essential requirement for the fatty, golden-hued legs of jamón ibérico. In one of the only four regions of Spain with protected designation of origin status for this ham, the huge haunches are salted and cured for two to four years. The haunches lose about half their weight and size, leaned down until the remaining fat layer can melt in your mouth. Jamón from Extremadura is known for its juicy, well-marbled pink to purple-red meat — a vessel for a delicate combination of sweetness, saltiness, and the complex earthy flavors of the dehesas themselves.
However one might describe jamón ibérico — sweet and nutty, floral and earthy — it stands on a pedestal of its own. Best served at room temperature to prime the fat to melt on your tongue, it must be taken in thin, delicate pieces to enjoy the complex nuances of its flavor. Classically served with a crusty slice of bread drizzled in oil, it pairs well with the acidity of sliced tomatoes. A pinch of salt seals the deal. To bring out the fruitier notes, wrap a sliver around a slice of honeydew melon or cantaloupe. Another bruschetta-style option is to pair your jamón-on-toast with a poached or scrambled egg to start off your day. For wine pairings, the earthiness of Rioja or Tempranillo work perfectly — as would a brut Cava, for a bit of bubble. If you prefer white wines, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Albariño will pair smoothly. For beer drinkers, a lightly hoppy dark lager also goes down famously with this ham’s fatty flavors.
A PORK OF STATUS AND POLITICS
In Roman times, ham from the Iberian pigs were a favored commodity to ship back to the Empire’s capital. When the Moors of North Africa invaded Spain around the year 700, they ate the local jamón as an act of political rebellion. This ham remained part of the peninsula’s culinary culture even when Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon cast out the Moors and united the regions of Spain. Even Christopher Columbus, on his travels to the Americas, found the ibérico ham hardy, excellent voyage fare. And when the community of Jerez de los Caballeros in Extremadura began feeding their pigs solely on acorns, the status of the jamón ibérico was sealed.
Store in the fridge.