A MOUTH-WATERING IBÉRICO HAM
What makes Ibérico ham irresistible? When the Ibérico ham is freshly sliced by Bellota’s professional, the aroma fills the air and lingers for everyone to enjoy. Each piece is thinly sliced and the meat’s tender texture is combined with its rich flavour, its even distribution of fat forms a beautiful marble pattern, creating an unforgettable experience where the oil melts in one’s mouth. So where does the unique taste and texture come from?
- We visited the Ibérico ham specialty store Bellota-Bellota® to taste this Spanish classic delicacy. The term “Bellota” is taken from an acorn, the Ibérico pig’s favourite natural food and so became the name for the top tier Ibérico ham.
- Ibérico pigs are divided into four different grades according to their feeding method and the purity of the Bellota breed. The grades are Bellota 100% Ibérico, Bellota Ibérico, Cebo de campo Ibérico, and Cebo Ibérico.
“Each piece of Ibérico ham is freshly and thinly sliced. It is evenly marbled, to preserve its bright red color.”Executive Chef Daniel Calvert
- The Bellota 100% Ibérico grade ham is the most expensive amongst the four. Pigs from this grade need to meet two criteria. They must be 100% purebred and must be raised freely in the woods where they spent more than 70% of their time eating acorns, with grains making up the remainder of their diet. These pigs must also gain more than 50% of their original weight during the weight gaining period.
- Premium Spanish Ibérico ham comes from four regions: Guijuelo, Dehesa Extremadura, Jabugo and Vallée de Los Pedroches. Bellota-Bellota®’s ham comes from these production areas, allowing customers to choose the right ham according to their taste.
- During my visit, we decided to try the hind legs from the Dehesa Extremadura area that has been airdried for 48 months. The professional ham cutter placed the freshly sliced ham onto a volcano-shaped porcelain plate, where the ham is warmed up slightly by the heat of the candle through the center of the volcano. We had to wait for the perfect time to eat the ham; when the light-yellow pattern of fat gradually turns into a translucent white. The meat texture is fresh and tender. Its rich flavour continues to linger in the mouth, making it hard to stop once you’ve started.
Ibérico ham from Vallée de Los Pedroches was also exquisite. Its hind legs are air-dried for 60 months, meaning that the colour is redder and leaner than the ham from Los Pedroches, and making the texture chewier, and the flavour richer. We were informed that to enjoy the ham at its best, we should eat it right after it had been freshly sliced, and of course, if you are taking it home, it should be consumed within a month for optimum flavour and quality.
- In addition, the store’s Marbled Foie gras with Lomo and Candied figs with foie gras were also delightful. The foie gras was delicate and smooth, echoing the flavour of the fig, while the fig seeds brought an extra layer to the texture; the perfect complement to a glass of Spanish red wine!
- Besides from its hand-cut Ibérico air-dried ham, the storealso sells whole pieces of Ibérico ham; a great option when youare looking for something to serve guest at a soiree. The wide range of high quality hams and accompaniments are sure to makeany meat lover excited when they make a trip to Bellota!
Bellota Bellota® Pop Up Store
Address: Shop G, New Central Mansion,
45 Gage Street, Central.