Wednesday, April 2, 2008
So this is the story. Over the past few weeks, I've been tracking and writing about this crazy ham (jamón iberíco) for a Canadian newspaper.
As my friend Dave says, jamón iberíco is the Dom Perignon of ham. It's a delicious ham, no question. Best in the world? I'd say so. It's certainly priced that way.
It arrived in the States in December and is coming to Canada for the first time this month--likely in stores this week. It will retail for about $300/kg or more for the bellota (highest grade, acorn fed ham); and about $180/kg for a lower grade of the ham (recebo, which is partially acorn and partially cereal fed). (The bellota will not reach the States until July--it can be pre-ordered on-line at www.latienda.com, a supplier of Spanish foods in America.)
In Toronto, you can buy the ham at Pusateri's, Cumbrae's or Longo's or sample it at restaurants Pangaea, Cava or Mistura. Domus in Ottawa will also have it as will a few other locations across Canada. It's well worth the price if properly stored and cut--particularly as you only need a few paper thin slices, say $10-15 worth, to get a good taste.
This is just a bit of pictorial flavour. The photo is of the ham in a drying room in the Sanchez Romero Carvajal (5J) factory in Jabugo, Spain, which I toured in February with Roger Davies of A Question of Taste (www.aqot.com), a fantastic gourmet tour company located in Seville and can arrange jamón and other food tours as well tapas tastings and Spanish cooking classes. 5J is one of the best known brands in Spain, but not the one coming to Canada...at least for now.
More on the ham, Jabugo, and the tour as well as the Spanish supplier to Canada, Embutidos Fermin, and my trip with the Canadian importer (Mike Tkaczuk of Serrano Imports) to visit Fermin's farm and factory later.