Iberico ham

[Spanish] plural Iberico hams

Ibérico ham is the best cured ham in Spain, from the area around Salamanca. It is taken from the Ibérico negro pig, a small brown breed with floppy ears, which is allowed to run free in the holm oak forests, getting plenty of exercise which helps it to stay lean. As yearlings these pigs consume huge quantities of acorns daily, their fat becoming monounsaturated. The hams are lightly salted and hung in cool rooms for two years. It is similar to Italian prosciutto or Bayonne ham but has its own distinctive flavour, provided by the acorns which it eats. "Recebo" on the label when you buy Ibérico ham indicates that the diet was supplemented with maize, while "bellota" indicates that the pig dined on acorns for the last three months of its life.