All our hams are sliced by hand. This is not only a sign of authenticity and handicraft, but is essential to the experience of quality and fine taste. Meat slicing machines have their advantages; without the need for craftsmanship, they produce uniform slices in both thickness and size. But the speed of the rotating knife creates a violent friction and heat which damages the meat’s structure and taste. The Iberian ham is formed by fibers which run in one direction and these should be followed when sliced. A «Maestro Cortador» takes into account the ham’s shape and individuality, and each slice is unique. To be a ham slicer with the title «Maestro Cortador» is a highly respected profession in Spain.
Certified Iberian ham is subject to strict rules and frequent control of authenticity. A common misunderstanding is to confuse it with jamón serrano, which is ham from ordinary pigs in farm production. Ham, both for export and local consumption, is important in Spain. Close to 50 million hams are produced every year, of which about 10% is Iberico, from the Blackfoot pig. Of these, only 6%, or 300.000, are 100% Ibérico Bellota. New regulation came in 2014 and we now have 4 main types:
If you buy a bone-in ham the color of the label is an important help to find the quality you are looking for. When you buy sliced ham the type and color should be indicated on the pack.
Spain produces 50 million hams a year, but only about 300.000 is of the best quality, 100% Ibérico Bellota.Click to tweet
The only ham that can be named PATA NEGRA, «Blackfoot», is the 100% Ibérico Bellota. Its intense taste comes from the pigs having lived free range and eating mainly acorns. They are slaughtered at a mature age and the hams are cured for 36 to 48 months. The original Iberican race has not been manipulated during the last 500 years.
PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, is a European quality label the best producers choose to apply for. Every single pig and ham is followed and controlled by public authorities during the whole production period, controlling every step from breeding to curing. Our ham is PDO Jamón de Jabugo, Sierra de Huelva, which is the most recognized and traditional of all the PDO ́s. As early as 1800, our producers labelled their hams «Made in Sierra de Huelva», which was seen as a guarantee of quality.
Outside Spain, the PDO Jamón de Guijuelo is the most famous designation, as the production in the area around Salamanca is more industrialized. In the Sierra de Huelva area, we produce 17.000 hams, whereas Pata Negra Guijuelo produces more than ten times this amount, at 180.000. The hams from Salamanca are characterized by a mild and sweet taste. Our main supplier; JAMONEZ EÌRIZ, is a small, typical family business that places quality before quantity.
In the product description, you will find detailed information about each product.