Jamón Ibérico de Bellota Arturo Sánchez - sliced
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In the world of cured hams, the most prized is the Spanish Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. This is a specific category of cured ham made from the Ibérico pig that roams the Dehesa of central Spain. The Dehesa is a natural rangeland of oak trees which drop their rich acorns on the ground each year during the season of the Montanera which are then gladly consumed by the resident pigs. The Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is unique in that the pigs get to live out the final days of their life trotting around the Dehesa eating as much acorn as they like. This diet gives much greater intramuscular fat with a high polyphenol content (similar to olive oil).
The Jamón Ibérico de Bellota from Arturo Sanchez takes a particular approach to their ham production involving several key elements including the breed quality of the pigs and the farms that raise them as well as the fact that the pigs are allowed two full Montanera seasons to consume twice the volume of acorns as any of the other pigs used for Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. This gives this ham particularly high levels of antioxidants which makes for a delightfully delicate, rich, porky and healthful Jamón.
|Region||Castile y León|
|Country of Origin||Spain|
Not sure if this is 100% iberico. They were cagey about it
Arturo Sánchez supposedly makes some of the best iberico ham. But they make 3 grades, and only 1 of them is 100% iberico. Apparently, within that top grade the hams may be aged anywhere from 2 to 6 years. The longer, the drier, and the more concentrated the amino acids. When I asked the man at Formaggio about their $154/lb Sánchez ham he evaded on the question of whether it was the 100% iberico or 75%. Only that it was “better than the rest” whatever that means. The sliced ham itself was more than half fat, not mostly meat as in the picture on this website. The flavor and texture was good but not excellent. There was very little if any “crunch” as in the best I’ve had. It was also much less dry than expected. Not a bad thing per se, but just something I noticed. I also thought it was sliced a bit thin (maybe 0.3mm) for the softness of the meat. We had fantastic iberico ham right down the street from Formaggio, at the restaurant Dali. This is not that. Price paid: $154/lb. if you are local to Cambridge and seeking a taste of iberico ham, I recommend going to Dali. You’ll pay the same price and get better Jamón.