Beware of words
Jabugo (city of Andalusia), pata negra (« black legs », the popular nickname of this pig breed), bellota (acorns used by Iberian pigs) are not labels, but trade names sometimes given to quite ordinary hams.
Check for the presence of a « DO »
It’s the registered designation of origin: Guijuelo, Dehesa de Extremadura, Huelva and Los Pedroches.
Know the duration of maturing
From 24 to 60 months (5 years!), the range of tastes and prices is immense.
Favour purchases by cutting from specialists offering several sources and refining…. to be able to taste!
For a perfect taste
Remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours in advance, so that its fat becomes thinner and transparent. Even better: keep it at room temperature.
In a hurry? You immerse your vacuum pack without opening it for 10 minutes in warm water, and serve your ham on a plate previously warmed in the oven.
It is served with a low acid bread: especially not sourdough bread! Moisten with arbequina Spanish olive oil, fruity and without bitterness, and spread with a tomato crush in olive oil, seasoned with salt and a hint of garlic.