Spanish Ham

From acorn-fed Iberico to mountain-cured Serrano, there are very few foods that better represent Spain than ham. Available in a wide range of different varieties, Spanish ham or jamón, has different flavour profiles and characteristics depending on its origins.

Spanish Ham

Spanish ham, or as they say ham in Spanish, "jamon", is a culinary delight that has captured the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts the world over. It is not just a delicacy, it's an experience. Each slice of this rich, savoury meat tells a tale of tradition, finesse, and a deep appreciation for quality. The art of creating the perfect Spanish ham involves meticulous preparation, patience, and a profound understanding of the craft.

Spanish cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its rich flavours and high-quality ingredients, among which cured Spanish ham stands out as an exceptional delicacy. The process of creating this savoury masterpiece begins with the selection of the finest Spanish pork, which is then cured through a meticulous process that involves salting, washing, and then dry-aging the meat in controlled conditions. This method not only enhances the flavour but also preserves the ham, allowing it to develop a complex, nuanced taste profile that is both rich and deeply satisfying.

To appreciate the full spectrum of Spanish ham, it is essential to delve into its origins, the types of ham, and the intricate process of its creation.

Typically served thinly sliced, jamón can be bought as a whole ham leg or ready sliced. Delicious on its own or with olives, Spanish cheese and tapas, it can be enjoyed throughout the year. Here at Brindisa, you will find the very best selection of hams sourced direct from authentic suppliers.

The History and Significance of Spanish Ham

The history of Spanish ham dates back centuries. It is intertwined with the culture and traditions of Spain and holds a significant place in the country's rich culinary landscape. The art of curing ham was initially a necessity, a way of preserving meat during winter months. Over time, this process evolved into an art form, with each region developing its distinct style and flavour profiles.

Spanish ham is not just a product; it's a symbol of Spanish heritage and gastronomic excellence. It represents the country's commitment to quality and the respect for traditions that have been passed down generations. Each Spanish ham, whether it's the prestigious Iberian Spanish ham or the widely-loved Serrano Spanish ham, carries with it a story of passion, dedication, and excellence.

The significance of Spanish ham extends beyond its borders. It is highly sought after globally, with connoisseurs appreciating its exquisite taste and quality. It has become a beacon of Spanish cuisine, a testament to the country's culinary prowess and devotion to quality.

Understanding the Types of Spanish Ham: Iberian and Serrano

The world of Spanish ham is diverse, with the two most renowned types being the Iberian and Serrano. They are often confused, but each type has its unique characteristics and names. The Iberian Spanish ham, also known as "jamon iberico", is considered the finest Spanish ham. Sourced from the Iberian pig, a breed native to Spain, it's noted for its rich, nutty flavour and succulent texture.

On the other hand, the Serrano Spanish ham, or "jamon serrano", is derived from white pigs. It is widely consumed throughout Spain and is recognised for its delicate, salty taste and firm texture. The flavour of Serrano ham is less intense than the Iberian ham, but it still offers a delightful gastronomic experience.

Understanding these differences is crucial when selecting the best Spanish ham. Each type has its unique appeal, and the choice depends on individual preferences, the intended use, and, of course, the budget.

Jamón Serrano

Named after the Sierra or mountains, Serrano ham is widely used as a term for all dry-cure Spanish ham made from white pigs. There are 3 types of Serrano ham available; Serrano Bodega, Serrano Reserva and Serrano Gran Reserva. Classification depends on the curing time.

Jamón Ibérico

Produced from black Iberian pigs native to the Iberican Peninsula, Ibérico ham is the best Spanish ham on the market. Iberico ham is typically available in three different styles/qualities based on the pig’s diet; de bellota, de cebo de campo and de cebo. Iberico bellota is the most prized hams and is named so because the pigs fatten on acorns (bellotas).