The Iberian breed is one of the most important pig breeds in Spain, especially when it comes to the production of Iberian ham -Jamón ibérico. Iberian pigs originate from the Iberian Peninsula and are mainly raised in the regions of Extremadura, Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha and part of Portugal.
The main characteristic of Iberian pigs is that they can infiltrate a greater amount of fat into their muscle, which gives them a unique taste and texture. In addition, these pigs have a greater capacity to store fat in their bodies, which allows them to survive in the most extreme areas of the Iberian Peninsula during the winter months.
To produce Iberian ham, the pigs are raised, some exclusively on the farm, which would be the Iberian cebo de cebo, others on the farm and in the field, hence the name cebo de campo, and finally those that are fed on acorn-fed acorns during the last phase of fattening. This is the period when the pigs feed on the fruit of the holm and cork oaks. This feeding process and the life in freedom during the pig’s growth period is what gives Iberian ham its characteristic flavour and aroma.
In short, the Iberian breed is fundamental to the production of Iberian ham, as its ability to store fat and the exclusive feeding on acorns during the montanera period are the key elements that make Iberian ham a unique and exceptional product in the world.