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Posted by Julie Day on March 07, 2016
Most expensive ham in the world

Jamón Serrano is perhaps an acquired taste for many non-Spaniards. It took a while before the taste and texture grew on me, but now after persevering, the same as I had to with mushrooms, I’m a big fan.

And you can definitely tell the difference between a really good quality ham and a not so good one, as with most things, I suppose.

Much of the difference can be noted in the time and care taken to produce something of a higher calibre, which differs a lot from something that is mass-produced under pressured time constraints.

That’s why it is not surprising that the ham awarded the title of the best product in the world by judges at the Biofach organic food trade fair in Nuremberg costs 4,100 euro per leg and takes around 10 years before it is brought to market.

Eduardo Donato is the man responsible for such a delicious product. Twenty-six years ago, at the age of 41, he gave up his life in the industrialised region of Tarragona in the northeast of Spain and a job in construction that didn’t satisfy him to go and live in the open countryside on 80 hectares of land in a small village called Cortegana in Huelva, Andalucía.

He settled into a farm and has spent the rest of his life so far dedicated to raising a rare breed of pig – the Manchado de Jabugo Ibérico Puro – on the verge of extinction, of which there are only around 100 left.

He only sells around 80 legs a year, but at a price of 4,100 euro each one, he doesn’t really have to sell many to earn a decent living!

And the reason that the ham has been voted the best organic and ecological product is the fact that this farmer is in no rush to get his product on the market.

Many pig breeders have shied away from this breed as it takes three years to reach maturity, while others can be sold in just over a year. They sometimes do not produce very well either, and the dark pigmentation of the trotters, typical of this type of ham (pata negra), does not always appear.

The Manchado de Jabugo breed raised by Donato are allowed to roam free on the land and are fed a strict diet of acorns, almonds and grass found among the orchards and woodlands. They are not given any type of chemical substance or hormone enhancer and are treated homoeopathically for cuts, deworming or parasites with natural products such as virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds and mint leaves.

Once the breed has reached maturity and has been slaughtered, the ham requires a further six years for it to cure in the storehouse.

Despite the fact that Donato sells everything that he produces, he has no desire to produce any more. His obligation is to the land, the animals and the environment, which only permit him to sell a small number of hams. This way the customer is assured a top-quality product and the land and environment are not compromised, while the animal leads a free and healthy life.

While being the most expensive ham in the world, he is not short of orders, with many coming from cities including Madrid, Barcelona, Marbella, Brussels, Berlin, Luxemburg and even Hong Kong.

He says the secret of his success is “patience, passion and pleasure”.

Source: www.elpais.com


  • Serrano ham
  • pata negra
  • organic food
  • Manchado de Jabugo


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