Welcome to Spain’s Land of Quercus–A Domesticated Forest 1

dehesa southease SpainThis may be the perfect video for a Monday morning. It’s beautiful, soothing, fascinating and soul restoring. Leave it to the Spanish to produce such a work of art based on–you guessed it–the black-legged Iberian pig. “Quercus” is the Latin word for “oak.” It designates the genus of some 600 species of trees worldwide. In Spain it’s most often associated with the live or holm oak, the wonderful tree that provides the acorns eaten by the cerdo iberico, the acorns which are responsible in part for the sublime flavor of iberico ham. What we see in this video is life on a dehesa, one of the extensive farms located mainly in southwestern Spain and dedicate to raising black pigs and fighting bulls and harvesting cork. More…

After Watching These Last Two Iberico Ham Videos You’ll Be an Expert! Reply

Iberico ham

Copyright ICEX / Juan Manuel Sanz

In these second two iberico ham videos we learn how the world’s finest ham is salted and cured and, best of all, how to slice it. It’s got bones down the middle, you see, and you have to work around them skilfully. And it needs to be sliced super thin–for which there is a special knife–so as to achieve maximum surface area. This paper-thin slicing enhances and extends the incomparable taste experience. The curing process is an industrial variation of the way jamón serrano has been prepared in Spain since time immemorial. Crisp mountain air with its unique micro-flora still intervenes in the process. Shall we have a look at it? More…

The Lowdown on Spain’s Coveted Black-Legged Pig 2

iberico ham

Often when Spanish people want to describe something that’s super fine they call it “pata negra,” “black leg.” Therein lies a story. There are two versions of Spain’s renowned “jamón serrano,” or “mountain ham,” salt cured traditionally in villages at high altitudes with crisp temperatures and mountain air.

The first is what we’ll call standard jamón serrano made from normal white pigs. This can be an excellent ham and it’s what you’ll usually find in tapas bars around the country. More…