This Reserva ham by Fermín is intensely flavorful, and each slice is marbled with golden fat that literally melts in your mouth. Free range, acorn fed pork and four years of aging in the clean mountain air of La Alberca come together to create this masterpiece of flavor. The best way to experience Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is by savoring slices cut directly from the ham, when all of the flavors and textures are at their finest.
The story of this incredible ham begins in the dehesa rangelands of western Spain, where black hoofed (pata negra) Ibérico pigs run free in family groups, feasting on the sweet encina acorns, as well as wild herbs and grasses. Each pig eats around eleven pounds of acorns a day during the fall, gaining more than two pounds daily. The acorns impart a delicious nutty flavor, and are full of antioxidants, which allow the pork to be cured for extended periods with very little salt.
The hams are hung to dry in the winter in the beautiful mountain village of La Alberca. As the seasons change and the temperature rises, the ham is bathed in rich, flavorful fat as it melts away. Meanwhile, complex chemical changes transform the pork into ham, creating thousands of flavor compounds that make this ham so wonderfully flavorful. All the while the Fermín ham master opens and closes shutters in the curing house to allow in fresh mountain air. His mission is to provide just the right temperature and humidity for the perfect ham.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota can be cured longer than any other ham because of the antioxidants present in the acorn diet. And as the ham cycles from spring to summer to fall and winter multiple times, it becomes more and more complex and flavorful. Fermín selects a small batch of hams that are the right size to be cured for four whole years. Through the process they lose 60% of their weight.
When you receive your Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, we suggest you unwrap the ham and let it breathe in a cool, dry place for several days. The ham can be stored this way for months. Harmless mold may cover the ham over time, it can simply be wiped away when you are ready to slice with a cloth and sunflower oil. When you are ready to slice the ham, be sure to use a sturdy ham holder and a very sharp jamón knife.