Hello, my friends! I hope you are well. Today we are not going to talk about grammar, instead of that, I’ve thought that it is going to be much more interesting to talk about ham! It’s essential for you to learn the differences between serrano ham and ibérico puro de bellota denominación de origen ham. Don’t be scared! It’s not a so long denomination! And continue the reading, please!

The translation of ham is jamón and the translation of jam is mermerlada. Now, let’s keep our concentration on the salty flavour of jamón. I’m pretty sure that you have seen in some supermarkets where you live a product called “jamón serrano”. It’s true that jamón serrano can be made in Spain, but not only. Jamón serrano is made from white pig and this breed of pig is not only from Spain, because it’s available in other countries. Now, when you elaborate jamón, this jamón needs to pass a “proceso de curación” (a process where you achieve an homogene distribution of the salt in the jamón, you avoid the growing of microorganisms and you get the specific flavour of the jamón). If this proceso de curación lasts 9 months, you get jamón serrano de bodega (bodega means cellar), if this proceso de curación lasts 12 months, you get jamón serrano de reserva and, finally, if this proceso de curación lasts 15 months, you get jamón serrano gran reserva.

Okay, and what’s the difference with jamón ibérico?

Jamón ibérico can be made exclusively in Spain because you need a breed of pork native from Spain which is called cerdo de raza ibérica (peninsula Ibérica is where mainland Spain is, right? Then it’s easy to get the origins of the denomination. Ah, the translation is “Iberian breed pig”). Then, when you have this type of pigs, you need to feed them appropriately. What do they eat?  They eat mainly acorns and they are living free in dehesas (Spanish grasslands). Also, the proceso de curación of jamón ibérico is a bit different and this gives to jamón ibérico a special taste. Depending on where the pigs have been living, you have four “denominaciones de origen”. What’s that? Let’s follow what English government says in its official page (they refer to denominación de origen wines, but there are other products like jamón which have this type of denomination):

Name of a region, area, locality or demarcated place that has been recognised administratively to designate wines that fulfill the following conditions: – to be elaborated in the region, area, locality or demarcated place with grapes from them, – to enjoy high prestige in trade due to its origin, and – whose quality and characteristics are due to, fundamental or exclusively, the geographical features that include natural and human factors.

From: https://www.gov.uk/protected-food-drink-names/denominacion-de-origen-do

Then, as I was saying, there are 4 denominaciones de origen for jamón ibérico:

  1. Dehesa de Extremadura (Extremadura is an autonomous region in West Spain, above Andalucía, below Castilla y León and between Portugal on the West and Castilla la Mancha on the East).
  2. Pedroche (pigs from Córdoba which is a city and province in Andalucía, South Spain).
  3. Jabugo (pigs from Huelva, a city and a province in Andalucía, South Spain).
  4. Guijuelo (pigs from Salamanca, a city and a province in Salamanca, in Castilla y León. Salamanca is situated above the autonomous region of Andalucía and below the province of Zamora, in Castilla y León too).

Finally, you must know that according to the way that the pigs are fed, you can have:

-Jamón ibérico de bellota: when the pigs are only fed with acorns and freely in dehesas (grasslands). That’s the best one and it’s called jamón iberico puro de bellota denominación de origen. Also, its “proceso de curación” lasts 36 months! Yes, 3 years!

-Jamón ibérico cebo de campo: apart from acorns, they are fed with rations of fed and cereals. The taste is great, but you can imagine that not as great as jamón ibérico de bellota. How an animal is fed matters! (let’s keep  that in mind for future posts about nutrition). 

-Jamón ibérico cebo: these pigs only have been bred with grains.

You can get all this information is you read the labels! But this is not going to be the topic of the day, otherwise, the post would be much longer!

I hope you have enjoyed this information and you keep this in your mind for your next trip to Spain! Share this post if you’ve liked it, please! And, if you are registered in WordPress, you can always press the “like” button!

Letras en Español – B. Riesco ©


El Mundo (online): Cuál es la diferencia entre el jamón serrano y el jamón ibérico. Recuperado a partir de: https://www.elmundo.es/economia/ahorro-y-consumo/2019/10/04/5d9725acfdddff190a8b4650.html

UK government (online): Denominación de Origen (DO). From: https://www.gov.uk/protected-food-drink-names/denominacion-de-origen-do

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