What is better Italian ham or Spanish jamon

Who has not seen or tried the wonderful ham delicacies from Spain: Serrano and Ibérico. Lean, wonderfully tender and particularly aromatic. The two types of ham are always a delicious specialty on the breakfast table or as tapas for dinner. But what exactly is the difference between Serrano and Ibérico ham?

The pig makes the difference

Both types of ham come from Spain and both are made the same and take a long time to mature. In principle, the longer the ham has time to mature, the better. In terms of taste, there are still differences between the two varieties, after all, the main difference between Serrano and Ibérico is the pig breed.

Jamón Serano

Serrano ham is made from the ham from normal, light-colored domestic pigs. The ham is rubbed with salt and allowed to air dry for at least a year. During this ripening period, the Serrano ham develops its typical, aromatic taste. In terms of color, the lean, tender Serrano ham fluctuates between pink and a strong purple. Serrano ham is not just Serrano ham: A large part of the ham that is sold as Serrano in this country actually comes from Spain, in order to get a real Serrano, you should ask about the country of origin. Ham produced in Germany can also be sold as Serrano, provided it has been produced using a special manufacturing process.


Iberian pigs (Cerdo Ibérico) range free in Andalusia

Jamón Ibérico - the difference to Serrano

The Jamón Ibérico comes exclusively from Iberian pigs (Cerdo Ibérico) with dark skin and accordingly black legs / feet (hence the term Pata Negra, which is also used for Jamón Ibérico). The origin of the pig is particularly important here, because at least 75% of the animal must belong to this particular breed.
In addition, the feeding of the animals also plays a major role, which is later reflected in the color, the taste and of course the price.

There are three types of feeding or ham:

The Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Belota = acorn) stands for top quality and comes from Iberian pigs that roam free all year round, which cover around 70 percent of their diet by eating acorns of the hard oak or cork oak, roots and various herbs. The acorns ultimately provide the incomparable, nutty taste.


The Iberian pigs look for acorns under the cork oaks

The quality of the ham is increased again by the longer ripening time than with the Serrano. In the case of the traditional Spanish manufacturer 5J Cinco Jotas from Jabugo, Andalusia, it is up to three years. During this time, after being treated with sea salt, the hams first ripen for three months in the courtyards of the well-known bodegas in the air and then in the cellars of the buildings, where, thanks to the open windows, they are always supplied with a fresh Atlantic breeze and their incomparable taste develop.


The Jamón Ibérico matures in the bodegas for up to 36 months

Jamón Ibérico de Recebo on the other hand, comes from pigs that were only fed acorns and herbs. The main fattening consists of grain and fodder.

Jamon Ibérico de Pienso comes from stable pigs that were fed only grain and cattle feed.

In addition to the breed of pigs, the difference between the two types of ham is also the color and taste. Jamón Ibérico is significantly darker in color and much more spicy and strong in taste, but just as tender and lean as Serrano ham.

Ham delicacies from Spain

In terms of price, the differences between the varieties are considerable. However, since the rearing of the Iberian pigs and the long storage of the ham are more complex and expensive, the higher price is quite justified. Both hams are absolute delicacies, but the Ibérico is more of a ham for very special occasions - the king of hams.

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