The Iberian acorn-fed ham is unique for several reasons. Let's break them down.
Firstly, it is produced from Iberian pigs raised freely in the meadows of the Iberian Peninsula, during their last fattening phase which lasts for 4 months, known as the Montanera. However, the final result will depend on the quality of the raw material, the percentage of Iberian breed, the elaboration process, and curing. Ultimately, it will be the hands and tradition of the master ham artisan that determine the final taste of this gastronomic gem.
In the end, we hope you'll be encouraged to purchase any format of Iberian Acorn-fed Ham.
Like any mammal, the first thing a baby feeds on is its mother's milk. Once raised on the farm, the pig's nutrition continues with specially fortified feed to support healthy bone and muscle growth. It's during adulthood that the farmer decides whether to start the Montanera period.
Whether it's a 50% Iberian breed pig or a pure 100% Iberian breed pig, the rearing process remains the same. The final difference in taste will be influenced by the curing process, time, and the final percentage of Iberian breed, which affects the fat content among other factors.
This period, which extends from October to approximately February, concludes with the creation of ham with a unique flavor and aroma. Furthermore, these pigs exclusively feed on acorns and natural herbs during this period, allowing them to develop fat infiltrated into the muscles, resulting in a tender and juicy texture for the ham.
This ability to infiltrate fat is exclusive to Iberian pigs, hence their significant difference from the rest.
Finally, the curing process, which lasts a minimum of 36 months, is carried out in a traditional and artisanal manner, contributing to the quality and final flavor of the product. All of these factors make Iberian acorn-fed ham considered one of the finest hams in the world, a gourmet product highly cherished by ham enthusiasts. Curing takes place in a ham cellar or storage room through multiple phases, sometimes spanning almost 4 years until it's ready for consumption.
The curing process is also crucial for the quality of all types of ham, particularly for Iberian acorn-fed ham. The ham is salted and cured in the open air, giving it a smooth texture and a complex, balanced flavor. Additionally, the curing process is carried out traditionally and artisanally, with meticulous care at each stage, contributing to the quality and final flavor of the product.
At Enrique Tomás, we always say that enjoying a sandwich of this ham takes a minimum of 3 years and 5 minutes to prepare due to its lengthy and careful craftsmanship by the best ham masters of our Iberian Peninsula.
Taste and Quality
Iberian acorn-fed ham can be from a 50% Iberian breed or a 100% Iberian breed. The latter is commonly known as "Pata Negra". For a pig to be considered Iberian, the mother must be 100% Iberian; if the father is also, then we have a 100% breed, a pure Iberian ham. The taste and quality of Iberian acorn-fed ham are exceptional.
Iberian acorn-fed ham and pairing
The perfect slice
Iberian acorn-fed ham
It's intense and complex, with perfectly balanced sweet and salty notes. The fat infiltrated into the muscle gives it a smooth and juicy texture, while the meat is characterized by its dark red color and a brilliant shine.
The quality of Iberian acorn-fed ham depends on several factors, such as the pig's breed, its diet, and the curing process. The pigs must be of Iberian breed and raised freely in the meadows, exclusively feeding on acorns and natural herbs during the Montanera season. This allows the meat to have higher fat infiltration, resulting in a unique taste and aroma.
A delicacy to savor in its final pleasure stage. Once you've tasted Iberian acorn-fed ham, consuming other types of ham won't be the same; it will certainly be good, but not the same.
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In summary, Iberian acorn-fed ham is a gourmet product of exceptional quality and taste due to the free-range rearing of the Iberian pig and its traditional and artisanal curing process.