The bodega -Cellar is a physical space where the reception, storage and movement of different raw materials and semi-finished products is carried out, up to the point of consumption.
In general terms, we understand the winery as a place destined, under certain conditions, to the storage of different goods, it is also known as cava or warehouse among others, but the term bodega as such has always been related to the world of wine and ham.
The cellar and the maturation of the ham
When we speak of a cellar or dryer in the world of ham, we understand it as a room with darkness where the maturation phase of the ham takes place. In the process of making a piece of ham, the last of these phases is the maturing phase, the duration of which depends on the quality and weight of the hams.
These pieces are hung in these spaces and are left in the hands of chefs and master ham makers who will control different aspects, such as the temperature that can range between 10 and 20 degrees, and the relative humidity that must be maintained between 60 and 80%.
Although the cellars may seem like quiet places to us, the hams that are in their last phase are not! And it is that while they are in these spaces, the experts move them more while they are accumulating up to 3-4 centimeters of mold. This is a very positive thing as it is precisely what will transmit aromas to the ham. While it is in the cellars, the ham changes inside and out.
As a curious fact we have that in every area of Spain there is a characteristic type of mould, for example the one that appears in the cellars located in Salamanca is white, while the one that appears in those that are in Huelva is much darker… and among other things. This is why Huelva ham has such an intense and characteristic flavour.
Ham from Bodega
Bodega ham is a type of Gran Reserva ham that has matured for 9 months. Also called cava ham, it is a product of inferior quality that is not usually sold as a whole piece.
Let us remember that Gran Reserva ham, also called dry-cured ham, is that ham that comes from white pigs, generally reared in an intensive regime and fed with cereal feed. It is certified as TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) and usually guarantees a minimum of 7 months of curing and can reach 24 months.