Parmesan Risotto with Crispy Jamón Iberico & Asparagus
Parmesan Risotto with Crispy Jamón Iberico & Asparagus
Seville is a magical and historically rich city that runs on tapas. These small plates are perfect for sharing and highlight some of southern Spain’s best ingredients. Think pork in all its marvelous forms, tender green olives, and bounties of fresh seafood—all bathed in some of the best olive oil you’ll ever get your hands on. Seville claims more bars per capita than any other city in the world, so you’ve got a lot to choose from. Luckily, we’re here to help. Check out the 10 best tapas bars in Seville:
Calle Teodioso, 53, 41002 Seville, Spain
The family-run restaurant is like stepping into a Spanish home. It’s here that you’ll find someone slicing jamón ibérico in the middle of the dining room, or exquisite caña de lomo, chorizo, and cured cheeses—all sourced from the region. Don’t miss the extensive list of tapas like the orange and codfish salad and the montadito de sobrasada con paté de aceitunas prietas y queso fresco (small sandwich with sobrasada, cured black olive paté, and fresh cheese). Or be adventurous and go for the tasting menu where owner Ramón sends out whatever he’s cooking up that day.
Calle Calatrava, 16, 41002 Seville, Spain
Spain’s best tuna comes from the yearly catch, called the Almadraba de Barbate, less than 100 miles from Seville. With all that high quality seafood, Spain has become famous for beautifully preserving these delicacies. And at this small stand in the Feria Market you’ll get to taste a number of marvelous tuna variations. Try the lomo de atún ahumado (smoked tuna loin), tosta con pesto de algas, and atún al pedro ximenez (tuna with pedro ximenez wine). And make sure to ask for a sherry wine pairing.
Calle San Jacinto, 49, 41010 Seville, Spain
This classic tapas bar is a staple in the Triana neighborhood, located just across the river from the center of Seville. We recommend showing up early and ordering tapas downstairs for the full experience. The restaurant is rightfully famous for it’s bocaditos de mejillones (stuffed and fried mussels) and also makes a killer plate of coquinas (small clams with garlic and wine) and boquerones fritos (fried anchovies). It’s also great place to try the Andalusian salmorejo (thick, cold tomato soup).
Calle García de Vinuesa, 11, 41001 Seville, Spain
Despite being just off the main drag in Seville’s city center, this old-school tapas bar still caters to locals. Monstrous wine jugs line the walls and set the background for authentic Sevillano charm. The menu changes frequently but be sure to order the rice special, tabla de ahumados (smoked fish board), the guiso (stew) of the day, or any combination of their local cured meats and cheeses.
Calle Zaragoza, 6, 41001 Seville, Spain
Castizo, with its lively modern design and open kitchen, is an excellent place in the city to get respectfully-executed Sevillano tapas. The menu differs slightly at the bar, but either way be sure to ask your server about the fresh seafood counter, where you can ask for a couple of oysters or zamburiñas. Watch the bartender artfully slice off jamón ibérico to start off your meal and be sure to try the rice of the day.
Calle Zaragoza 15, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
La Cata Ciega, or “the blind-tasting,” is a fantastic place to snag interesting local wines and tapas. The timbal de pulpo (octopus, potato, aioli, and paprika) is the star of the delicious show, as well as the carillada de javalí (wine-braised boar) and pisto (stewed vegetables with an egg yolk). Trust owner Álvaro to pair your tapas with one of the unique wines he’s constantly rotating.
Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 Sevilla, Spain
This critically-acclaimed tapas bar has won numerous awards for its unique and modern tapas creations. The crowds are constant so be prepared to wait. When you get a seat, you’ll want to order the infamous huevo sobre el bizcocho de boletus (egg yolk on a mushroom cake) and the cigarro de becquer (a cigar-shaped seafood bomb). But don’t miss the succulent rosemary honey pork ribs.
Calle Conde de Torrejón, 21, 41003 Sevilla
Lola Por Dios is a charming bar bustling with locals and decorative Spanish flare. Here you can try dry Basque cider, a variety of vermouths, local and regional wines, and the beloved Sevillana cerveza: Cruzcampo. The tapas list is simple but each is carefully made and outright delicious. Try the sobrasada con miel (sobrasada on toast with honey), chicharrones de cadiz (thin slices of pork belly with salmorejo), and the ajoblanco con anacardos (cold cashew soup).
Calle Gerona, 40, 41003 Sevilla, Spain
El Rinconcillo is the oldest bar is Seville, dating back to 1670. The tapas bar is typical Sevillano: colored Arabic tiles, wine barrels, and a chandelier of jamón ibérico. Step up to the bar and order their famous espinacas con garbanzos (stewed spinach with garbanzos and spices), bacalao con tomate (codfish with tomato), carillada (wine-braised pork cheeks), or pavía del bacalo (beer-battered codfish) and watch the bartenders scribble your order directly onto the mahogany bar.
Calle Gravina, 70, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
Esteban opened his vermouth and tapas bar in honor of his grandfather, who passed the recipes down to him. The place is full of relics that tell Esteban’s fantastical family story, which pair perfectly with every single beverage and bite he has to offer. Tell Esteban what you like, and he’ll choose the vermouth for you, or ask for a glass of one his exclusive wines. The trifásco de ahumados (smoked fish trifecta) is a must, along with his mysterious sardinas incorruptas (incorruptible sardines marinated in tomato). Any of local cheeses and cured meats are thoughtfully sourced and also worth digging into.
Did you like our 10 Best Tapas Bars Seville?
There’s no better way to explore Spain’s capital than by eating your way through Madrid’s food scene. Looking for some of the best tapas bars for your very own tapas crawl? Check out our favorites, along with a few sit-down places to truly experience the best local fare as the Madrileños do. And if you’re not traveling soon to Madrid take a look at these delicacies from Spain delivered to your door in the USA.
Calle de Colón, 13, 28004 Madrid, Spain
With a rich and fascinating history dating back to 1892, La Ardosa is a classic Madrid tavern in the Malasaña neighborhood. The bar specializes in a variety of international beers, as well as the tortilla de patatas. Add the grilled artichokes to your tapas order, as well as a bowl of salmorejo, and drink to the Madrileño lore and legend.
Calle de la Bola, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
The folks at La Bola have been cooking the same way since 1870. That means simmering the Madrileño cocido (the regional stew consisting of garbanzos, various forms of pork, and vegetables) in individual earthenware vessels to create rich and savory flavors. La Bola is not exactly a tapas spot—you’ll want to take your time here— but their fame and dedication to traditional cooking methods makes them a necessary stop on the Madrid route.
Calle de la Madera, 37, 28004 Madrid, Spain
Casa Julio might as well be called Casa Croqueta. This tapas bar is known for their unique and especially delicious croquettes, like the spinach, raisin, and gorgonzola or the morcilla with membrillo. You can also stick with the classic jamón ibérico.
Calle de la Libertad, 1, 28004 Madrid, Spain
Brothers Celso and Manolo opened the spot back in the 70s and served traditional Madrileño dishes to the daytime workers downtown. They retired and turned the bar over to Zamora brothers who work to maintain the traditions while putting their own spin on the menu. Check out the chuletón de tomate (tomato steak), the ensaladilla (Spanish potato salad), a bocadillo de calamar (fried calamari sandwich), or any of their rice or egg dishes
Calle de Ponzano, 58, 28003 Madrid, Spain
Typical Madrid tapas and never-ending beer reign at this old-school spot on the bustling Ponzano street. Devour plates of changing seafood specials: octopus and onions marinating in vats of bright olive oil, crab legs, oysters, or mounds of boiled shrimp.
Calle de Botoneras, 4, 28012 Madrid, Spain
The bocadillo de calamar (fried calamari sandwich) is one of Madrid’s most well-known tapas. There are a number of places to find them around town, but La Ideal is classic, cheap (just €2.70), and excellent—just as it should be.
Calle del Ave María, 44, 28012 Madrid, Spain
In the heart of Madrid’s Lavapiés neighborhood sits the infamous hole in the wall, Melo’s. Here, there is only one thing you should order, both for its fame and its monstrosity that will have you full for days to come: the zapatilla. This enormous grilled sandwich is made with creamy Galician tetilla cheese and lacón, a cured and thinly sliced pork shoulder.
Calle del Pez, 36, 28004 Madrid or Calle Cava Baja, 42, 28005 Madrid, Spain
You’ll find just three things at Pez Tortilla: tortilla (obviously), croquettes, and beer. It may sound simple, but this modern eatery gets creative with over a dozen tortilla varieties (like truffle brie and jamón), funky croquettes (like gambas al ajillo), and a devotion to international craft beers on tap.
Calle de las Huertas, 74, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Along with cocido and the bocadillo de calamares, huevos rotos (broken eggs) sit in Madrid’s library of culinary fame. At Los Rotos you can get huevos rotos and potatoes with a variety of additions like jamón ibérico, blue cheese, or chistora sausage, served in either a cast iron skillet or stuffed into a pillowy “mollete” bread.
Calle del Dr. Castelo, 30, 28009 Madrid, Spain
Take a break from the tapas churn and enjoy a long meal at Taberna Laredo. The seasonal menu is based on traditional Spanish cuisine with artful twists and is always made with thoughtfully sourced ingredients. Enjoy wines from the ever-changing list and don’t fret too much over the menu—every bite is spectacular. You can’t go wrong!
Let us know if you have any favorites. And don’t forget to visit our store ibericoclub.com to get the finest food from Spain delivered to your door with free shipping and 100% guaranteed.
You love jamón ibérico. Maybe you took a trip to Spain and left craving those luxuriously thin morsels of perfectly cured ham. Or perhaps you’re a Spaniard yourself and miss the flavors of home. Quality regulations in Spain are strict and keep inferior imitation products out of the market (Read our blog post about The Difference Between Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Other Spanish Ham), but play it smart when buying Jamón Ibérico online. Not all Spanish jamón is the same, so do your research before making such an important and delicious purchase. Here are the questions you should ask when you buy Jamón Ibérico online:
You may find “Spanish-style” ham, or jamón, but that doesn’t mean it was actually made in Spain. And if it’s not made in Spain, it’s definitely not the jamón you want to serve at your Spanish dinner party.
The Pata Negra is known as the best jamón in the world. It comes from 100% Ibérico pigs. The pigs can only be called “Pata Negra” and receive an official black tag if they meet certain requirements. If it doesn’t say “100% Ibérico”, it’s a crossbreed (white, green, or red tag) and can’t be called Pata Negra. This isn’t regulated in the U.S and sellers may throw around the word “Pata Negra”, even if it isn’t 100% Ibérico.
The “de Bellota” indicates that it lived a free-range life, munching only on grasses and acorns (bellotas). No industrialized farm feed here. You may find pictures of acorns on packaging labels. Careful! This may be just another technique to make you think it’s free-range and acorn-fed, when it’s simply not. When you buy Jamón Ibérico online, make sure it says “de Bellota.”
Denominaciones de Origen Protegida, or D.O.P.s, are protected jamón regions in Spain. Each region has specific regulations the artisans have to adhere to in order to produce and sell their ham under the name “Serrano,” “Ibérico,” or “Pata Negra.” Ibérico Club jamón, for example, is from a D.O.P called “Los Pedroches” and is the only ham with this Protected Denomination of Origin that you’ll find in the United Sates. It’s always good to try to buy Jamón Ibérico that comes from a D.O.P.
A proper Jamón Ibérico should weigh an average of 16-17 pounds and a paleta should weigh around 10-11 lbs. This weights may vary but it’s good to make sure they do not differ very much from the average.
You can’t take your Pata Negra down to the local butcher and ask them to throw it on the deli slicer. This artisanal product requires a different kind of care and can only be carved with a very specific blade used only for jamón. Additionally, the jamón or paleta needs to rest in a special holder for proper leverage. If your online retailer doesn’t send you either of these tools, it will be impossible to carve off those paper-thin slices. It’s also difficult to find these tools in the U.S., and you’ll likely have to special order them. When you buy Jamón Ibérico from Ibérico Club, it comes with a holder, knife, and an instructional carving booklet so you can cut like the pros at home.
Most of the time, a deli-slicer is used to cut pre-sealed packages of jamón. Some retailers will use phrases like “hand-carved style,” but steer clear of these brands if you want Jamón Ibérico that’s been hand-carved. Why? Traditional jamón is delicate and should be carved by hand. At Ibérico Club we are one of the very few that offer real hand-carved Pata Negra. And we’ve got our very own master carvers to do it!
Some online sellers, for example on Amazon, buy jamón ibérico and can’t sell all their product fast enough. They end up with inventory that’s a year old and have to sell it at a lower price. These jamones, though cheaper, are over cured. It can be hard to detect based on what you see on a website, so ask the retailer if you can. Low-priced jamón is a big red flag, as a Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota is simply not cheap. Stay clear of anything with a significantly different price when you buy Jamón Ibérico Pata Negra.
You may see a tasty Jamón Ibérico at a reasonable price. But remember that these delicacies are considerably heavy and shipping isn’t cheap. At Ibérico Club you get free shipping on every single one of our orders, no minimum order requiered. The price you see is the price you get.
Make sure you read the return policy. What happens if they send you an over-cured jamón? What if you don’t like the jamón or it arrives damaged? At Ibérico Club we offer a 100% money-back guarantee with full returns, even if the product is opened. In other words, if you open your jamón, carve off some slices, and decide it’s not for you, we’ll send you a pre-paid shipping label and refund 100% of your purchase right away. No questions asked. That’s how much we believe in our product.
It’s important to read the customer reviews. Find out what other people are saying! When people are over-the-moon satisfied, they talk! And when customers are disappointed, they let you know.
You may not find the answers to all of these questions online. When in doubt, find a buyer you can communicate with. Talk to the experts and see if they can clear the air. They’re sure to be impressed with your new knowledge and will give you all the information you need to make the best purchase decision.
Want your questions answered now? Check out the live chat on the bottom lefthand corner of the Ibérico Club page and feel confident buying your next Jamón 100% ibérico de Bellota.
Now that you have Spain’s proudest gastronomic delicacy in your home, you need to give it some tender love and care to keep it fresh and delectable. So how and where do you store Jamón Ibérico? How long will it last once it arrives at your home? How does a leg of jamón last for so long? We’ve got the answers to your pressing ham questions.
A whole leg of Jamón Ibérico will last up to 9 months unopened from the time it arrives at your doorstep. Once you open up the vacuum seal, it will last for 6-8 weeks, as long as you store it properly. One of our 16 lb whole Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota will yield around 45 to 50 plates of 2.5oz/each.
A vacuum sealed package of hand-carved Jamón Ibérico, on the other hand, will last up to 5 months in the refrigerator. An opened package, however, should be enjoyed the same day. But we doubt that will be too much of a problem—we dare you to make it last more than a few hours!
A whole leg of Jamón Ibérico doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It should, however, be stored on its jamonero, or ham-holder, away from a direct heat source or sunlight. The kitchen counter is an accessible place for it, as long as the counter isn’t next to the oven or stovetop. It stores best in cool and dry places like a wine cellar or a clean basement, as this particular climate mimics the specialized curing rooms of Spain.
A vacuum-sealed pack of hand-carved Jamón Ibérico should be stored in the fridge. Never freeze jamón! It’s far too delicate and lasts long enough that you shouldn’t ever need to freeze it. Spaniards cured ham as a means of preservation before refrigeration or freezers. No need to double up on the preservation methods.
After you’ve cut into your Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota, make sure to store it properly. Cover the exposed meat surface with those slices of fat you removed when you first cut into the jamón. Then cover the whole leg with a dry kitchen towel or cheesecloth to keep out the sunlight and air. When it’s time to carve again, simply remove the towel, set the pieces of fat aside, and carve away!
Later on, if you see that that top layer of meat has dried out because of a bit of air exposure, don’t worry. Just slice off the first dried layer and discard it. The rest of the jamón will still be in perfect condition.
Only sliced Jamón Ibérico needs to be refrigerated. Make sure you pull it out of the fridge about an hour before serving so it can come up to temperature. If it’s not room temperature, the texture will be chewy and the flavor muted. Eating cold Jamón Ibérico is basically like drinking warm champagne.
Can’t wait an entire hour to dive into those delicate slices of umami-laced perfection? Place the vacuum-sealed package in a bowl of warm water for two minutes and you’ll be good to go.
If you get a little crazy with your new jamón carving skills and have some leftovers, put the slices on a plate and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap to prevent air flow. Then place it in the fridge and it will last for 2-3 days. On the other hand, you could also vacuum seal sliced jamón yourself. If properly sealed, it will last for 2-3 months in the fridge.
Jamón Ibérico is a cured meat, meaning it is preserved using salt and time. Curing is one of the oldest preservation methods and has been used for centuries to keep food from spoiling without refrigeration. The process is slow and methodical and necessitates a lot of care.
After butchering, artisans submerge the hams in salt, rinse them carefully, and place them in a refrigerated space during a 60 to 90 day period. During this time, the salt distributes itself evenly and the meat begins the rehydrate and preserve. The jamón artisans monitor the conditions rigorously throughout the curing process, increasing the temperature and humidity over time. Once the ham reaches an ideal temperature and humidity level, the artisans move the them into a natural drying cellar called a “bodega.” They stay in there anywhere from six months to a year before they reach a specific texture, cure, and flavor. Later, they hang the jamón in a curing cellar to age until the Maestro Jamonero, or “ham master” decides, through a series of aroma and touch tests, that the jamón is perfectly cured. All said and done, the curing process alone can take up to four whole years.
There’s nothing like proudly displaying four years of cured Spanish greatness in your home, or opening up a package of hand-carved slices for a pre-dinner tapa. If you care for Jamón Ibérico properly, it will give you days and days of deliciousness. Just remember: carved goes in the fridge but the whole leg can be on the counter. Store it right and it’ll be all the better.
You may not be ready to ship a full leg of Spanish jamón to the U.S. You want a starter kit, a tapa, if you will. Sliced Jamón Ibérico is a simple and noncommittal way to snack on this cured delicacy stateside. Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, only a few brands have been able to withstand the impossible FDA regulations coupled with already rigid quality standards of sliced Ibérico ham in Spain. Each of us is doing important and difficult work—bringing jamón to North America is an outstanding feat in and of itself. But there’s so little information available about sliced jamón, so it’s important to do your online research before buying sliced Jamón Ibérico. Ask:
Take a look at a few nuances that differentiate one product from another before throwing a pack of sliced Ibérico ham into your virtual shopping cart. Here’s what we’re talking about:
Spain is internationally known for pig, and most importantly the cured pig. There are a few different varieties like Jamón Serrano, the lowest quality Spanish ham, and Jamón Ibérico. But the product that sets us apart from Italy, France, and other culinary powerhouses is our Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota. Pata Negra, another official name given to these cured legs that hang from the ceilings of every other bar in Spain, comes from pure-bred Iberian pigs native to the peninsula. Some varieties of Jamón Ibérico and Serrano come from mixed breeds of pigs, altering the flavor profile and healthy fat content. If the packaging on your sliced jamón doesn’t say 100% ibérico, look elsewhere.
These 100% black-hoofed Iberian pigs spend their days roaming free in Spanish pastures, grazing on meadow grasses, and snatching up acorns during the fall and early winter. The acorns, bellotas, fatten up these all-day-eaters and give the meat an unmatchable nutty character. This is the “de bellota” tagline you’ll see on the best Spanish hams in the world.
You may find packaging with pictures of these iconic acorns. Though the graphics are creative, they don’t ensure that the pigs are truly free-range nor de bellota. They may eat acorns at some point in their life, but they’re likely fattening themselves up on farm feed too. An antibiotic and hormone-free care, natural Spanish grasses, and a plethora of acorns from holm oak trees, are the way Iberian pigs have eaten for centuries. These pigs become true jamón—the healthiest and finest cured pork that’s won the hearts of every traveler wandering through the peninsula. Stay true to tradition and quality. Look for 100% Ibérico de Bellota and none other.
An exaggerated amount of care and attention goes into raising and curing the iconic Pata Negra. It’s only right to carve the leg with the same delicate care. In Spain, a proper Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota is always carved by hand. Artisans dedicate their entire lives to perfecting the art of carving a jamón. You can even hire one of these professionals to slice up a jamón at your next Spanish birthday party. These guys and gals take every crevice and corner of the creamy, fat-streaked ruby flesh seriously.
Jamón carvers don’t work for show, though carving is an artful spectacle to witness. The delicacy of hand carving preserves the silken textures, powerful aromas, and complex flavors. Unfortunately, not all packaged jamón is hand-carved, and is instead machine-sliced. A machine-sliced jamón is first deboned and pressured into a rectangular block. The block is later placed in a low temperature environment to harden and sliced with high-speed blades. Machine-slicing a simple Jamón Ibérico or Jamón Serrano won’t affect the final product too much, as the cellular structure isn’t as delicate as a 100% Ibérico de Bellota. But all that harsh manipulation can change the complexities and textures of a fine product like a true Pata Negra. If you want to preserve years of careful curing, make sure you buy hand-carved jamón.
There are a few brands out there producing 100% Ibérico de Bellota. Though some sell their jamón in what’s called a “hand-carved style,” it’s a machine-sliced product imitating a hand-carved one. We stand by a true, hand-carved Pata Negra. And we’re the only ones in the U.S. doing it exactly the way it’s been done in Spain for hundreds of generations.
You’re searching for the beautiful taste of hand-carved Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota. Jamón refers to the hams, or hind legs of the pig, and is Spain’s claim to worldwide fame. The flavor is soft and complex, an unparalleled morsel of umami. When you look specifically for jamón, make sure you don’t mistakenly buy the front leg, as it’s an entirely different piece of charcuterie. Paleta, or paletilla, refers to the cured front legs of the pig. You may see paleta floating around on packages and websites in the U.S. We love paleta! So much so that we sell whole legs of Paleta 100% Ibérico de Bellota. But if you’re looking specifically for hand-carved (not hand-carved style), hind-leg jamón—the most luxurious of gastronomic Spanish delicacies—you’ll have to look to Ibérico Club.
Importing jamón ibérico across the Atlantic isn’t cheap, and sending it from our U.S. headquarters to your doorstep also requires special care and shipping practices. Most sellers in the States offer free shipping with a minimum order. But what if you want to try out a package of the sliced Spanish delicacy before taking the plunge? In that case, you likely won’t meet the minimum and you’ll pay for shipping. Ibérico Club’s shipping is always included, regardless of quantity or price. The price you see is the price you pay. No matter what.
What happens if Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota isn’t for you? Ideally you return it, but that can be next to impossible with online food brands. You’ve got yourself a 100% guarantee when you order a package of hand-carved Pata Negra from Ibérico Club. In other words, if you open the package, take a bite, and don’t love it, we’ll send you a shipping label and refund every last cent. No questions asked. That’s how much we trust and believe in our product.
Always read the customer reviews. Want to know what people are really saying about jamón from any and every seller out there? Take a look at each retailer’s comments. When people are over-the-moon satisfied, they talk! And when customers are disappointed, they let you know.
Ibérico Club is the only place you can find a package of hand-carved 100% Ibérico de Bellota Jamón in the U.S. There’s Jamón Serrano, even Jamón Ibérico. You’ll find machine-sliced and hand-carved style, or a hand-carved paleta of Pata Negra. But if you want the most exquisite and renowned product Spain has to offer, any approximation is just not the same. And if you decide it really isn’t for you, we’ll let you send it right back for free. Hand-carved Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota is our national culinary treasure. We want you to fall as deeply in love with it as we have.
What bottle of wine do you reach for when it’s time to carve the jamón? Any Spanish wine is the natural inclination, but it’s not always best. Remember, Pata Negra is unlike any other charcuterie out there. This jamón is incredibly complex. It’s powerful yet delicate. It’s salty but sweet. The texture is soft enough to melt like butter. When you indulge in a slice of hand-carved Jamón Ibérico, a burst of umami awakens your taste buds, while the silky fat coats the inside of your mouth and glosses your lips. You won’t find this wild sensation in any other food. And a complex food begs for a particular kind of pairing. It must be treated with care and respect. Here’s how to eat and drink with your new favorite tapa: Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota.
Legend has it that Spanish bartenders used to lay thin slices of jamón ibérico over the rims of wine glasses to protect the drinks from unwanted bugs and dust. This idea of the tapa, translating to “top” or “lid,” grew into a nationwide custom of pairing small bites of cured meats and cheeses with Spain’s local wines. Though merely one of many tapas origin stories drifting around the country, the legend proves the inextricable link of jamón ibérico and vino, cured ham and wine
Most Spaniards will tell you there’s no better pairing than a slice of Pata Nega and a glass of dry sherry. This is not your grandma’s wine. In Spain it’s most typically consumed in six main varieties: Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Cream, and Pedro Ximénez. Sherry is a vertebrae in the gastronomic backbone of southern Spain, particularly in its region of origin, Jeréz de la Fronterra.
Other than the sweet Cream and the syrupy Pedro Ximénez, these dry, high alcohol wines make the best of partners for a savory slice of Pata Negra. The Manzanilla and Fino are dry, but not tannic, refreshingly light, but with a faint body that holds up to the jamón’s strength. Amontillados, Palo Cortados, and Olorosos Secos are also dry but with nutty and smoky overtones that barely grace the tip of the tongue. The flavor and aroma of these wines is unique—strong but not overpowering, bursting with complexities. Jamón Ibérico, a unique and complex delicacy, needs just that sort of wine to complement and compete with its character.
Sherry wines are slowly rising in popularity in the U.S., but the assortment is still limited. You should be able to find every variety at your local wine store or a larger retailer, though Palo Cartado may prove to be more difficult. Not all bottles of sherry in the U.S. will denote the exact varietal, but the good bottles display all the info. If the label says “dry,” it’s obviously dry. But if it doesn’t give any other information other than “sherry,” it’s likely a sweeter variety and won’t fare well with jamón. When in doubt, go to a specialty wine shop and ask your wine gal or guy. They’ll lead you in the right direction.
Region: Jeréz, Spain
Winemaker Notes: Opening with typical notes of green olives, this refreshing fino gives way to delicate wildflowers on the nose. Pairs perfectly with classic tapas but can also last the whole meal through with seafood and even sushi. This wine is meant to be served very-well chilled and can be used an aperitif as well as the most refreshing accompaniment to many classic, simple sea
Spain is most widely known for its musky reds—leathery aged Tempranillos and smoky Monastrells. These styles of red wine, or tintos, as we call them, are the most common U.S. exports, but that doesn’t mean they’re ideal for the delicate and distinct flavors of Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota. In fact, many of those Spanish red styles can distract and sadly subdue some of those poignant nutty notes of the delicately cured ham. Instead, look for young reds that aren’t too tannic or extensively barrel-aged.
Coming from Spain’s award-winning Rioja region, you find the Rioja Crianza—a young Tempranillo wine aged for about two years. It’s soft, earthy, and not overly tannic, free of those musty smoke aromas that can overpower a good jamón. A Crianzas is a great everyday wine and an ideal bottle to keep around the house.
Ribera del Duero, hailing from the Castilla y León region, is another young and soft Spanish wine that pairs beautifully with jamón. If you want to venture outside of Spain, look for wines that are young and spend little time in oak barrels. An Italian Chianti Classico is a great option, or even a wine as light as a Pinot Noir.
Region: Rioja, Spain
Grapes: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuello
Winemaker Notes: Garnet color with violet notes on the meniscus. In the nose it is surprisingly aromatic especially emphasized the red fruits and licorice in balance with the aromas from the American barrel which reminds us of vanilla and cocoa with some caramel. Its smooth entry into the mouth takes you to a round step with a long fruity retro-tai
Red with meat, white with fish. That’s the general consensus when it comes to very basic pairing, but it’s terribly limiting. Many white wines, or blancos, actually do just as well alongside Pata Negra as they do a flaky filet of fresh fish. When choosing a white wine to compliment the manifold tastes of jamón, go light and dry. Anything overly fruity, sweet, or oaky can clash with the salinity and complexity of the jamón, robbing it of some of its unique flavors. Albariño, a bright and dry wine from the northwest province of Galicia is a fantastic Spanish pairing. Outside of Spain, a Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or a dry Riesling also does the jamón ibérico well.
Region: Rio Baixas, Spain
Winemaker Notes: A refreshing food friendly white wine, Albariño is crisp, elegant and dry and has aromas and flavors of pear, passion fruit, and apple with bright acidity.
Dry, refreshing, and full of bubbles, Spain’s famous sparkling always calls for a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with a plate of Pata Negra? Cava doesn’t have those yeasty undertones like champagne, making it a clean and softer partner for an umami-laced piece of jamón ibérico. Most cava is dry but there are a handful of sweet varieties. Make sure to pick a dry bottle of this Spanish bubbly.
Region: Penedes, Spain
Grapes: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada
Winemaker Notes: ” Vibrant aromas of ripe peaches, pears and toasted bread with a hint of spice fill the nose. The palate is dry with a rich, creamy texture. Layers of flavor include orange rind and spice that persists through an elegant finish.”
Manchego cheese is right up there with Spain’s greatest gastronomic accomplishments. A raw sheep’s milk cheese from the Castilla La Mancha region, the artisan delicacy is specially cured for more than nine months and laced with the robust flavors of roasted nuts and a firm, velvety texture. You can find a manchego or two at a specialty grocer in the U.S., but you won’t try anything like the Gran Reserva Dehesa de Los Llanos. This particular Manchego was named “The Best Cheese in the World,” acclaimed by some of Spain’s mot famous chefs, and unparalleled in quality and taste. Because of its powerfully long finish and distinct qualities, it’s an ideal accompaniment to a plate of hand-carved Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota and those paired wines we mentioned above. We recommend eating the jamón and Manchego in independent bites, separated by sips of wine to clean the palate. Though you won’t experience any foul flavors when eating jamón and manchego in the same bite, you won’t get the full, individual experience of each delicacy.
Region: Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Tasting Notes: “Aroma of roast ingredients, dried fruit, walnut & hazelnut. Strong flavor full of hints with a long finish & firm texture.”
If you want something lighter or a simple accompaniment to keep in the pantry, you’ll need picos. Picos are used much like bread in Spain. They’re essentially short breadsticks that give the accompanying charcuterie, cheese, or any other tapa, a baked crunch. Our picos camperos, or “country” picos, are handmade in Huelva, Spain and baked in a wood-fired oven. They’re completely natural and made only with flour, water, sea salt, and yeast. Picos are a simple and classic pairing for jamón ibérico.
Region: Huelva, Spain
While Manchego is another gorgeous car on the Spanish culinary highway, bread, or pan, is the road that humbly carries them from one town to the next. In Spain, we use bread like an extension of our other hand—it soaks up savory sauces, spoons bites onto our forks, and sops up the last bits of bright green olive oil underneath a juicy tomato salad.
Many bars and restaurants in Spain serve jamón over a slice of crusty white bread. This isn’t the time to look for hearty grained breads or whole wheat seeded types. You want something neutral, with just a bit of a crunch to counter the jamón’s soft and sultry coating. If you crave a bit more flare, whip up a quick pan tumaca, as it’s called in Valencia. Known also as pan con tomate or pan amb tomàquet depending on the area of Spain, it translates simply to “bread with tomato.” Slice that same crusty white bread in half, toast it, split a tomato, and rub the tomato over the cracked and browned insides of the bread. Add a drizzle of olive for a final touch.
In Spanish, the word for pairing is maridaje, which literally translates to “marriage.” Think about your jamón pairings like a happy marriage. Sometimes they complement each other so succinctly that the wine and jamón become one and create an entirely new flavor. Other times the picos are simply there to support and offer a subtle crunch, letting the jamón shine. There’s a push and pull, an intertwining of flavors and textures that showcase the most exquisite parts of Spanish gastronomy.
Everyone’s tastes and preferences are distinct. You may not be fond of sherry or prefer a bolder red with your jamón ibérico. Experiment with wines. Try out different foods. Have fun with it until you find your favorite pairings. We’ve given you some suggestions and guidelines but the most important part of pairing is that you actually enjoy it. Be free to create your jamón experience.
A Spanish ham, is a Spanish ham…right? Turns out not all cured Spanish ham, or jamón, is created equal. It’s a real challenge to find jamón in the U.S. and there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the difference in varieties. Luckily, we’ve been around jamón our whole lives and are working with experts in Spain to feed you the best possible ham around: the Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota. So, what’s the difference between this ham and another? Why is Jamón Iberico de Bellota best? Let’s find out.
We Spaniards take our ham seriously. The differences amongst ham names are not just creative marketing ploys, they’re government regulated titles. There’s even lengthy number of government manuals full of the various restrictions, from the breed of the pig to the amount of time each is cured. It’s essentially the Holy Ham Bible.
Food and beverage quality regulation is serious business in Europe and there is nothing comparable in the U.S. Yes, there’s the FDA that monitors food safety, but this is a different ball game. For example, you can only call a Champagne a Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France. Or a Spanish Rioja Reserva must be aged for at least a year and a half to maintain its status as a “Reserva.” The same goes for jamón. Like wine regions, Spain has protected jamón regions, or D.O.Ps (Denominaciones de Origen Protegida). Artisans have to follow specific regional regulations to produce and sell their ham under the name “Serrano,” “Ibérico,” or “Pata Negra.” Ibérico Club ham, for example, is from a D.O.P called “Los Pedroches” and is the only ham with a Protected Denomination of Origin in the United Sates.
And if that wasn’t convincing enough, an auditing agency that functions a lot like the ham police, visits each producer to make sure they’re following the rules and getting the proper results. Luckily for us, that means nobody will gimmick you into buying a lesser quality jamón. The ham police does all the work for you.
“Serrano” comes from the word “sierra,” meaning mountain, as they were originally cured in the breeze of fresh mountain air. Now with modern technology, ventilation replicates this mountain breeze.
This somewhat inexpensive cured ham can be made from a few different breeds of white pigs (Duroc or Duroc Jersey). The pigs, like most factory-farmed animals, eat a grain-based farm feed (cebo), and not much else. Feed and a factory-farmed life is a much cheaper way to keep these all-day eaters fed. They may munch on a few natural grasses here and there, but their meals aren’t as regulated like other pigs.
There are a few classifications within Jamón Ibérico, each tagged with a different color. The classifications (white, green, red, and black) are determined based on the percentage of Ibérico pig in the breed and what the pig eats.
The general Ibérico pig eats a lot like the pigs used to make Jamón Serrano: grain-based farm feed, but with the occasional chance to munch on a few acorns and grasses the last couple weeks of its life. These pigs may live a free-range life but not always. In the case of the Pedroche D.O.P., farmers are allowed anywhere from 2-12 pigs per hectare (about 2.5 acres) of land, depending on the classification.
Unlike Jamón Serrano, the Ibérico ham must come from pigs that contain at least half of Ibérico pig in their breed. This particular pig is native to the Ibérico peninsula (think Spain and Portugal). It’s a black breed that’s slightly larger than most, with a pointed snout, short black hair, and fine bone structure. The Ibérico pig is part of what makes Spanish jamón so distinct and quintessentially, well, Spanish. So when you’re trying to determine the difference between Ibérico and Serrano, remember that it’s all about the breed and Ibérico is best.
There’s one final tag given only to the best Ibérico pigs: the black tag. If you thought the classification for Jamón Ibérico was tough, the black tag is so hard to come by that only .01% of pigs can actually be called “Pata Negra.” “Pata Negra” or “black hoof” refers to the black hooves of these Ibérico pigs. The white pigs actually have white or lighter colored hooves. Unlike the general Ibérico ham, the Pata Negra breed is 100% Ibérico making it 100% native to the area. We Spaniards are so adamant about this distinction that pig farmers and curers are required to comply with frequent genetic testing of their pigs. In come the ham police!
But it’s more than just the breed. These pigs spend their days roaming through vast pastures (dehesas) and lush oak forests, with only one pig allowed per hectare of land. You’ve got a beautiful, lush hectare of land? Well, you’ve only got enough space for one single Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota, according the D.O.P of Los Pedroches.
And what does this particular breed of pig snack on all day? Acorns. Yes, you heard us right! Bellota, meaning “acorn,” is the primary food for the Pata Negra. You thought all pigs ate slop? Let the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota show you and other pigs how it’s done. These guys and gals get to sit under the shade of ancient Spanish holm oak trees, picking up every acorn in sight. They also roam around their large plots of land and eat whatever natural grasses and roots they can find.
These special Jamón Ibérico de Bellota pigs are raised humanely, without antibiotics, GMOS, hormones, or artificial enhancements. Snacking stress-free in Spanish pasture all day? Sounds like a pretty great life to us.
The phrase “pig out” didn’t just come from anywhere. Pigs of all varieties eat constantly, and they’ll eat practically anything in sight, so they’re ideal for cleaning up weeded fields and ripping up tough invasive plants. Because of their ferocious appetite, it’s crucial that they eat the cleanest and organic material. This prevents diseases and produces the highest quality meat. Pigs get all their necessary nutrients from their natural habitat, keeping them healthy and active during their lives.
The addition of acorns to their diet is key. They fatten them up naturally and healthily and give Jamón Ibérico de Bellota a distinct nutty flavor. The acorn-based diet also gives these pigs a greater percentage of unsaturated fat, and a cholesterol count that’s lower than many types of lean meat, including chicken and turkey. An Ibérico pig must eat between 1,000 and 1,200 pound (ca. 544 kilogram) of acorns to be considered a true “de Bellota!” If a farmer decides to give the pigs feed for a couple of weeks, those pigs can now no longer be called 100% Ibérico de Bellota. It’s how all farm animals lived before farming was industrialized, and we want to keep it that way. No messing around here.
These hams take longer to make than many bottles of expensive wine. The process is slow and methodical, and necessitates a lot of care. To start, the pigs live in the pasture about a year and a half before they’re brought in to be cured. After butchering, artisans submerge the hams in salt, rinse them carefully, and place them in a refrigerated space during a 60 to 90-day period. During this time, the salt distributes itself evenly and the meat begins to rehydrate and preserve. Artisans monitor the conditions rigorously throughout the curing process, increasing the temperature and humidity over time. Once they reach ideal temperature and humidity, the artisans move the hams into a natural drying cellar called a “bodega.” They stay in there anywhere from six months to a year before they reach a specific texture, cure, and flavor. Later, they hang the jamón in a curing cellar to age until the Maestro Jamonero, or “ham master” decides, through a series of aroma and touch tests, that the jamón is perfectly cured. All said and done, the curing process alone can take up to four whole years!
The difference amongst cured hams is unprecedented. Though Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico are still fantastic Spanish products, the Jamón 100% Ibérico Bellota (Pata Negra) has unmatchable quality, flavor, and texture. You’ll notice a distinct marbling and a creamy rim of ivory white fat that glistens as it comes up to room temperature. The dark red flesh is soft and tender from the pig’s stress-free environment and is speckled with tiny white crystals of protein, indicating proper curing methods.
At the end of the day, the aromas and flavors are what really wows us. The jamón is soft, sweet, and salty. We say that you can tell you’re eating a true Pata Negra by the way the fat coats your throat as it melts down into your belly.
As jamón connoisseurs, you get why the Pata Negra is known as the best ham in the entire world. Each bite of jamón deserves the utmost respect. Dedicated farmers and artisans spend their whole lives learning how to properly, raise, cure, and even carve this unique delicacy. So take a bite, close your eyes, and let the taste of the Spanish dehesa melt into your mouth.
Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota “Pata Negra”. The best chefs in the world like Ferran Adriá, Jose Andres, Anthony Bourdain, Joel Robuchon… say this type of ham is “The finest cured meat on earth“. That’s quite a bold statement, and we 100% agree with it.
Premium Dark Chocolate with Marcona Almonds Turrón. It comes in a hand made wooden box. Delicious and beautiful. The artisans that make this turrón, roast selected marcona almonds and mix them with a unique dark chocolate recipe.
100% Ibérico Lover Starter Kit. Includes: 1 package of 2.5oz of the finest hand carved “Pata Negra”, 1 Artisanal Salchichón Ibérico de Bellota (1.2lb), 1 Artisanal Chorizo Ibérico de Bellota (1.2lb), and 1 Bag of Hand Made Picos Camperos in a wood fired oven (7oz).
2.5 oz of Hand Carved Pata Negra shipped to your door. This delicacy is hand carved slice by slice by some of the best ham Master Carvers in the world. Then it is vacuum sealed to maintain freshness and imported in small batches by air. Best in the USA. Guaranteed.
Premium Anchovy fillets from Santoña, Spain. Considered the best anchovies in the world. They are deboned one by one, aged for more than 12 months in a soft “Picual” Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and then packaged in a small glass jar. 100% Hand made by artisans in the north of Spain.
And if these 5 delights are not enough, Click Here to find some more great gift ideas. Get your gift today and don’t forget to add a Christmas gift message during checkout.
· 1 tomato on the vine.
· 2.5 oz of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota.
· Parmesan cheese.
· Salt, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
How to prepare:
Enjoy your Arugula, Parmesan and Jamón Ibérico Pata Negra Salad! 🙂
And don’t forget to visit us at Ibérico Club to get the finest ham in the world and other artisanal delicacies imported from Spain.