Jamón and paleta – the best bellota-grade ham
Our products come from thoroughbred Ibérico pigs, an old pig breed from Spain. Their meat is distinguished by one superior property: fine fat veins criss-cross the meet, giving it a unique flavour and tenderness. The animals spend the entire year in an environment densely populated with imposing cork and holm oaks; during the montanera feeding phase, their diet consists almost exclusively of acorns. This is what gives the ham its marvellous, nutty-sweet flavour. The higher the bellota grade of the pork, the sweeter the ham.
Depending on the breeder’s preference, pigs undergo the montanera phase once or twice. Ibérico breeder Garimori herds his animals through the oak forests once between October and March, which gives them a bellota grade of 30–40 per cent. The thoroughbred Ibérico pigs from which Cinco Jotas (5J) ham is produced undergo two cycles of montanera feeding, first as farrows and then as adult pigs. Their meat has a bellota grade of 70 per cent.
Cinco Jotas (5J)
5J ham is produced in Jabugo, a village located near the Andalusian coast at an altitude of 600 metres. The unique micro-climate of the area gives the world-famous 5J ham its extraordinary flavour. Hand-rubbed with sea salt, the hams are stored in specially air-conditioned ageing chambers for three to seven months. They are then transferred to the bodegas, where a fresh Atlantic breeze blows in through the open windows.
Ham must meet the following five criteria to deserve the name of ”Cinco Jotas (5J)”:
• 100 % thoroughbred Ibérico pork
• natural husbandry (free-range farming, more than one hectare of pasture per animal, reared for up to two years)
• intensive montanera feeding
• 36 months of ageing under the supervision of the “Maestro Jamonero” (ham masters)
• local production limited to Jabugo
How to enjoy a piece of ham
• Store the ham at a temperature of 20–25 degrees Celsius.
• Cover cut surfaces with a slice of bacon and a cloth.
• Cut the ham in wafer-thin, almost transparent slices.
• Cut the ham from different sides to taste the different subtle flavour nuances.
• Serve the slices on a shallow plate. Few slices are more appetising than many stacked on top of each other.