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Origins of Iberico ham

When the Romans arrived in ancient Iberia, among the many benefits offered by the land, they found that the Iberians had a knack for making ham. As great observers, the Romans soon realised the qualities of this delicacy. It was easy to prepare, had a great capacity for conservation and, above all, it tasted great. The Romans had discovered…. Iberian Ham.

Techniques on general pork grocery and ham in particular came to the peninsula from the Phoenicians. Strabo (I B.C.) tells us so in his book Geographica :

“… most of them are occupied by Kerretanoís, people of Iberian ancestry, among which excellent hams are made, comparable to those made by [the] Cantabrian [people], providing no small income to residents”

It soon became one of the leading Hispanic products exported to Rome but the most valued of all hams were those of Hispania Pompaelo (Pamplona). Yes, a good Spanish ham was expensive and exclusive, reserved only for the upper classes. At the roman_coinstime of the Emperor Diocletian, the price of a ham was set at 20 denarii, a significant amount for food. It was so valued that even ham-shaped coins were made during the age of Augustus and Agripa.

So it is not surprising that after more than two-thousand years of it’s successful production and consumption in every corner of the peninsula, the ham has become a pennant of Spanish gastronomy, as well as being something which, in a country where the people famously disagree on most things, has established itself as a firm favourite among the majority!

iberico dehesa

Ham Quality Watchers, new labelling on

A new Quality Standard for Iberico has taken effect which establishes the different types of ham depending on purity of the race, how the pigs are raised and the food they received. This has been a long awaited regulation among producers of the highest quality as the Iberian breed and extensive production at Dehesas was becoming weaker and weaker in front of the Duroc breed and the intensive methods. Don’t forget that the Iberian race and the extensive production that allow the pig to roam freely at the Dehesa is what give to Iberico ham that sweetness and meltingly tender and juicy texture.

To make it easier to understand, Iberico hams will have to be labelled depending on this characteristics as follow:

100% Iberico, from animals with 100 % genetic purity of the Iberian breed, and whose parents have the same 100 % Iberian racial purity.
…And depending on how they have been raised, the ham is classed as:

      • …de Bellota: if they were free range and mainly fed with acorns and grasses.
      • …de Cebo de Campo: Free range, but fed on grain, legumes and pasture plus acorns from the Dehesa.
      • …de Cebo: Farmed animals fed with grain and legumes.

Iberico %, from animals with at least 50% Iberian genetic purity.
…And depending on how they have been raised, the ham is classed as:

      • …de Bellota: if they were free range and mainly fed with acorns and grasses.
      • …de Cebo de Campo: Free range, but fed on grain, legumes and pasture plus acorns from the Dehesa.
      • …de Cebo: Farmed animals fed with grain and legumes.

Also some of the usual terms used to refer to these products have been redefined to avoid confusing. The popular term “Pata Negra” can only appear on the label of the highest quality product, i.e. the “100 % Iberico de Bellota”. Pack IbericoThe terms “Dehesa” and “Montanera” can only be used in the labelling of products “de Bellota” regardless of the purity of the breed and never in “Cebo de Campo” or “Cebo”. From now on the use the terms “Recebo” and “Iberico puro (pure Iberian)” in the labelling of the product is prohibited.

CONSUMER TIPS

+++So far the safest way to acquire a 100 % Iberian was one that was certified by any of D.O. (Protected Origin Denomination) or IGPs (Protected Geographical Indication) that exist in Spain. From now on you can buy it with assurance without having to be certified by D.O. or IGP. Although if it is, you will be taking home the best possible ham.

+++Under our criteria this would be the quality ranking for Iberico hams from highest to lowest quality.

1st Jamón de Bellota 100% Iberico
2nd Jamón de Bellota Iberico
3rd Jamón de Cebo de Campo 100% Iberico
4th Jamón de Cebo de Campo Iberico
5th Jamón de Cebo 100% Iberico
6th Jamón de Cebo Iberico

The new rules established by law have been published and will be effective from 10/01/2014. If you are a wishful Spanish speaker brave enough to study new law, text is available at the Official site!

iberico_labels

Black, Red, Green or White. Choose your Iberico ham.

The new regulation for Iberico products which has just been approved establishes the following labels for an easy identification of the different quality standards of products.

      • Red label. A free range swine fed exclusively with acorns.
      • Green label. A free range animal fed with grains and legumes.
      • White label. Farm-dwelling swine fed with grains and legumes.
      • Black label. This label refers to the highest quality ham, exclusive for swine which are 100% genetically Iberico and have been afforded the freedom of roaming the Dehesa, eating as many acorn as they wish.

What do you think about this labelling?

Wines from Granada: Muñana 3 Cepas

Concept of the Author

“We have tried to make a powerful and complex wine but smooth on the palate at the same time; a wine showing the colour, aroma and strength of the Syrah variety; the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and the smoothness of Merlot. MUÑANA 3 Cepas is undoubtedly a wine that can be greatly enjoyed.”

Awards
International AWC VIENNA 2010: Gold Medals
International Competition CINVE 2011: Silver Medal
INTERNATIONAL WINE GUIDE 2012: Gold Medal
Guide PEÑIN 2013: 90 pointsmuñana3cepas_corte

Vintage
2008 (Crianza)

Grape Varieties
Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

From its own vineyards
Produced and bottled by the winery (Estate Bottles)

Finca Peñas Prietas (Cortes y Graena, Granada)

Production
51.600 bottles

Analytical Parameters
Grading: 14% Vol.
PH: 3,3
AT: 5,1 gr/l in tartaric acid
Malolactic Fermentation

Aging
12 months in 300 litres French and American oak barrels and 12 months in bottle kept in underground natural caves at 14 ° C average temperature.

Tasting notes
Garnet colour with vivid, bright cherry. On the nose, ripe fruit aromas with light notes of black fruit jam, bitter cocoa and balsamic touches. Marked acidity, good fruit and mineral oak assembled.

Recommendations
Serving temperature: 17ºC
Food pairings: Game, red meats with sauces of moderate acidity.

Find it in Spaninabox at a very special price

goat_cheese_ham_cougette_potato2

Iberico ham and goat cheese on roasted courgette and potato

Place the 6mm thin potato slices on a hot oven tray with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground pepper and bake for 20-25 min. at 180º.

Put the stuffed mushrooms back in the oven for a couple of minutes, serve immediately, and enjoy.

spaininabox.eu

50% OFF vouchers, Easy

Get a 50% OFF and free delivery subscribing to the SpaininaBox newsletter. Be the first to order our next delicious hamper.Enter your email on the left to follow this blog and join the gastro traveling experience today! Know more about the Spanish gastronomy, small producers and special products through our hampers; get information should you need for you routes, we will arrange visits to our suppliers for you.
To help you taking this such a brave decision ;-D we will award you with a 50% off voucher code to spend in www.spaininabox.eu. Get a hamper like this for just around £100 delivery included.
Enjoy!!

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Hello Europe!!!! SpainisDelicious is here.

Hello Europe,

Thank you for taking the time to read our first ever post, and welcome to Spainisdelicious! A project full of enthusiasm and true passion for food in general and especially that one which keeps its soul and essence, rooted in its origins and attention to detail through craft production. In Spainisdelicious we like to understand our food; the story behind it; the origins of a recipe and what makes it so special; what made it to survive the weather of times.

muñana cellarWe travelled in a continuous search for small producers, artisans who put so much love in their products as we do to select and get them to you. Small producers who, because of their size, are able to assure unrivalled artisan production, care and above all, flavour. They are reluctant to open their doors to the mass market, as larger scale production may compromise the quality of the product, and ultimately the experience of you, the customer.

Through Spainisdelicious, we want to convey our strong passion for Spanish cuisine. We will provide information about the products, touching on history, specific characteristics, recipes and even provide you with information should you wish to visit the producers yourselves! We will even arrange guided visits to these producers for you. We want our blog serve as a guide for culinary tourism throughout Spain, travelling with us through our reports, visits to producers, our recipes and, of course, through our monthly selection of gourmet products at www.spaininabox.eu. Flavours, textures and traditions from Spain, in a box, with all the freshness of the product directly from the producer.

This is our purpose, we want you to enjoy the experience of gastro-travelling and encourage you to comment on our articles and give us feedback about our website.