I was fortunate to go to school in Spain for a semester-plus in 1967, and to return a few times since. There are a lot of incredibly good, traditional Spanish foods still not well known in the United States -- ham and cheese among them. Unfortunately, Spain was never able to produce a good pumpernickel. Que lastima!
I little while ago I went up to Chicago in hopes of trying the Iberico ham. We ate at Carnivale, in Chicago. They were in between hams waiting on the new shipment to come in:mad:. I guess I should have called. Later that night I remembered that Fox and Obel market carried the ham too. We arrived seven minutes after they closed :(
I'll be going up to Chicago again and hope to find some this time.
I recently moved from Dublin to Barcelona so I am trying hard not to OD on it. There is nothing better than jamón iberico, sliced rice-paper-thin, on fresh crusty bread, or just straight into your mouth.
What cheap version did you have at your supermarket? Around here, The lower quality Iberico is still around $87/lb if a consumer were to buy a whole boneless leg. The Fox&Obel in Chicago has it for (I think it was) around $90/lb for sliced.
Was it Jamon Iberico or Jamon Serrano?
How much did the Iberico cost by you?
What did you think of it?
I finally got the opportunity to try Jamon Iberico Belotta. I tried a number of times to get it at some restaurants in Chicago...but they were out when I went up there to eat.
But, in a way...I'm kind of glad they were out. The one place I was trying to order it at serves it topped with a little truffle oil and crostini. After having this ham I really couldn't see mixing or adding any flavors directly with the ham itself. I do believe it would make the ultimate ham sandwich...but it would be best (as my buddy had said) deconstructed. I definitely agree.
The taste is glorious. The oils, the deep flavors, the consistency and mouth feel have no equal in the world of Jamon. The cost for the Belotta was $170/lb sliced...so it's certainly not cheap. But if I could experience a couple of these slices for $10...count me in! As I've said...I really don't buy much fast food or prepared foods. If it costs me $10 every once in a while to have a couple of slices of Iberico Belotta...so be it. I'd rather spend 10 bucks on this rather than a couple of boxes of twinkies (or whatever).
As much as I loved the Iberico Belotta...I wouldn't count out the lower quality Iberico Jamon. I'd have to remind people that lower quality is relative to Jamon Iberico Belotta. I also tried the Jamon Iberico grade that's below the Belotta. This Jamon was still around $90/lb...so it's not cheap by the pound. But again...I bought a couple of slices and it was under $5.00. You bet I'm gonna try it for under 5 bucks! I tried this Jamon Iberico before I tried the Belotta. Let me tell you that this Jamon is no slouch! This stuff had a nice nutty flavor, good mouth feel, plenty of the glorious fat. The lower quality Iberico is similar enough to the Belotta that I would easily say that it's the second best Jamon I've ever had. Yet the flavor is different enough that I would recommend trying both grades if you have the chance.
I have been working on duplicating it for three years now. This was the first year I had a product that was acceptable to offer. But it has been done in the serrano tradition... won't have Iberico til I find a source for the hogs.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
Oh I need some more Iberico. That distinct flavor and the oils...uh oh! Maybe I'll have to get a couple of slices every so often. Yum Yum! Hopefully I'll be able to get some within the next week or so.
On similar note...has anyone had Petit Jesu? Another above average deli meat with great depth and nice oils/fat.
The other day I was at the local cheese store, and they had a jamon iberico. I honestly didn't really know what that was (except that it was some form of prosciutto). It was whole, and so I asked the employee if I could taste it. She cut the whole thing in half (so I wouldn't have to taste the end bit), and gave me a slice to taste. WOOOOOW! Even the fat part was absolutely delicious. I asked for 1/2lb, but didn't ask about the price ;). I honestly had no idea!
Then she came back with 1/2lb, went to the cash register, and at that point she looked devastated. She looked at me and told me.. "huh... did you know this is $120 per pound? You have about $60 of ham." - I looked at my small tiny pile of sliced ham.... DOUBLE WOOOOOW!!! What do we do now? I was ready to pay, since I ordered it and it was cut (the whole time thinking of everything I could have bought for $60)... but she was super nice to me and agreed to let me have 1/4lb for $20 instead of $30.
I went home, and my wife and I ate it: it was absolutely fantastic!
I think you're better off buying it in the US. I highly doubt they'd let you take it through customs. Anything canned or preserved or bottled and sealed is usually ok, dried meats.... I wouldn't take my chances. But don't take my word for it, ask a custom agent? If it worked, maybe the money saved would pay for your trip to elBulli so you could try their cherry in iberico ham fat, and fried rabbit ears with rabbit brains, etc...?
RPM, are you seriously thinking of buying the ham? Wow that'd be the 2 best months of your life right there. My wife's parents used to buy a prosciutto ham every winter, they'd have meat for months. Taking the whole thing out and starting to slice around the bone is a priceless experience.
Well at least I know if you do buy it we'll have some beautiful food porn. :D
As good as the ham is, smuggling food into the US around customs and USDA regulations may end in quite a problem. I do love this ham...but not quite that much ;) though it's close!
The tariffs shouldn't directly raise the price of the boneless Iberico hams. Although the price increase on the bone-in variety may indirectly lead to a price increase on the boneless hams as well, I hope not.
Talking with a supplier in Spain he said to check back from time to time as things may change down the road.