Extremadura, located in southwestern Spain, and adjacent to Portugal, is approximately the size of Belgium, Spain’s most widespread ecosystem provides of the best Serrano, honey, cheese and other foodstuffs.
Cork trees (quercus suber), and Pyrenean oak trees (quercus pyrenaica) abound and provide both goats and pigs valuable fodder. Pastureland feed cows and sheep.
What this ecosystem (dehesa in Spanish) is best at, is producing P D O (Protected Designated origin) region that is entitled to label its products as such. All P D O foodstuffs are strictly controlled by agencies.
The town of Salamanca in northern Extremadura has a lot of dehesa, where Iberico pigs (Pata negra) roam, during the last three months of their lives, feeding on acorn from holm trees, in addition to their ground wheat, barley, and maize diet. It is said that each pig eats approximately 15 kilograms of acorns per day and gains one kilogram of meat. Acrons are rich in oleic acid impart a particularly delicious flavour to hams, sausages, cured pork loin, and chorizo.
Iberico pigs are descendants of the European wild pig, which roamed the forests of the Mediterranean basin centuries ago.
The dehesa of Extremadura provides ideal conditions fro pigs to grow and fatten.
The climate of Ciudad Rodrigo, 80 kilometres south of Slamanca is well noted for its superb hams, and sausages, which are dried in specially, designed buildings. The climate and humidity are perfect in this village, hence in conjunction with the flavourful meat of Iberico hams fattened by acorns, yield the best imaginable serrano ham of Spain.
Joselito hams of the town of Guijuelo are now exported to many countries.
Ferran Adria who helped popularize molecular cuisine, is full of praise for Joselito`s Serrano hams.
Cured ham from free-range, acorn-fed Iberico pigs has always been appreciated in Spain. Now it is making its mark around the world.
Iberico ham is available in delicatessen corners of famous and high-end grocery stores in Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and New York.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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