Jamón ibérico

Jamón ibérico or “Iberian ham” is a type of cured ham produced in Spain and Portugal, made from specific pigs who are at least 50% the genetic progeny of the black Ibérian breed. True to the adage that you are what you eat, Iberian pigs are especially tasty because they wander about all their lives in pastures and oak groves noshing on grass, herbs, acorns, chestnuts, and roots. As “retirement” approaches, the most prized pigs are treated to the richest olives, chestnuts or acorns to further enrich their famously strong foraging limbs. The hams are The cured from 12 to 48 months. The hams don color-coded labels according to the pigs’ diet and the purity of its lineage. The finest grade is called jamón ibérico de bellota or pata negra (black label) and touts an all acorn diet and pure-bred ancestry. The runner up is jamón ibérico cebo de campo (green label) which enjoyed a pastured diet of acorns and grain. Plain ole’ jamón ibérico (white label) were fed only grain, but don’t feel badly for these little pigs, they are still considered superior to their less distinguished jamon serrano cousins.