The Spanish Language Blog

Spain is known for its delicious and, above all, special hams. Most hams are produced in Spain, yet Italy exports more. The reason is that each Spaniard eats an average of 5 kilos of ham per year, which is twice as much as in Italy. Spain has many types of Spanish ham from Serrano to the famous Pata Negra. The most famous are discussed below.

Serrano ham originally comes from the mountains. Today, this Jamón Serrano is produced with a special Spanish breed of pig. Still the hams are dried in the original way with coarse sea salt for a time of 6 to even 36 months.

Surely the most famous Spanish ham is the Jamón ibericó Pata Negra (black leg). The production of this ham is located in Guijuelo in the municipality of Salamanca. The pig lives in the forest where it is generously fed with fresh grass, herbs, roots, olives but above all acorns. Because the pig can walk freely, the meat has a spicy and nutty flavor. In Spain they call this ham ´Jamón Ibérico´. There are 3 different types of this ham:

  • The most famous and therefore most expensive ham is called ´jamón ibérico de bellota´, bellota means acorn in Spanish. In the last 4 months, the pig eats only acorns, which gives it its special nutty taste.
  • Another type of ibérico is the ´jamón ibérico de recebo´. This ham is from pigs that in their last period ate only acorns and grain.
  • The last type of ham is the jamón ibérico de cebo, or simply just jamón ibérico. The pigs have eaten only grain in their period, and are aged for 24 months.

Did you know....

  • the pigs have been gaining 800 grams to a 1 kilo per day for the last 4 months.
  • the ham loses 35% of its total weight through drying.
  • the ´jamón ibérico de bellota´ is the most expensive ham in the world.
  • front legs mature 6 to 8 months shorter than hind legs.
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