Hola! I’m back from Barcelona, and inspired by all I’ve seen and tasted! One of my favourite things to have for lunch was a simple ham roll. The Spanish take their ham very seriously, in fact some types of ham have special certifications, so their product names cannot be used by anyone else in another region and not following the same processes (similar to the regulations governing champagne.) One of these is Jamón Ibérico de bellota, which is very expensive because of its unique production standards. The Black Iberian pigs are raised in a mountainous region near the border of Portugal, and forage on the forest floor eating grass, herbs, acorns, and roots. The unique free range diet of the pigs means much of their fat is mono-unsaturated. Amazing! It certainly does have a silky texture. The ham is cured for a year and a half, and is a deep almost mahogany colour. The closest thing in flavour to it is prosciutto, but bellota has richness and complexity of flavour that is unsurpassed!
This is Bar Galicia where I ate a few times. It was near my hotel in Montjuic (close to the Poble Sec tube station). You can see the hams hanging from the ceiling (the blackish ones on the right are the Iberian ones.) Below the hams there are mounted ones on racks, partially carved.
At another restaurant there was a ham bar, where a specialised waiter stood in the middle of the restaurant, under the dangling legs of various hams. It was his job to stand there all evening carving off paper thin slices. Like I say, the Spanish love their jamón!
The jamón is served spread out on a plate, or, as here, on a plain crusty roll, with olive oil. Heaven for me, because, as I’ve said before, I prefer a roll with one simply delicious thing on it. Salad and a roll never tasted so good!