JOSELITO Pure Ibérico Ham Gran Reserva from Acron-fed pigs

Product: Joselito Gran Reserva Acorn-Fed Iberian Ham
Brand: Joselito
Producer: Cárnicas Joselito
Country of origen: Spain
Region: Salamanca
Town: Guijuelo
Approximate price per Kg.: 125 euros Kg
Approximate weight: Between 7 and 8,5 kg each
Prizes and recognition:  “When in front of a Joselito ham the best thing a chef can do is turn off the stove and sit down to enjoy it.” Chef Carme Ruscalleda , 3 Michelin Stars. score out of 100 points: 98,5/100

Why does it deserve our mention? 

This company satisfies many of the requirements of best-in-category: tradition, with over 100 years in the hands of the same family. It is still managed by them, and they own a herd of more than 90,000 Iberian pigs. Each animal is raised on 2 to 4 hectares of dehesa (wooded pasture) where they exercise and build up their fat reserves. Jose Gomez, owner of Joselito, says that his pigs are “Olympic pigs,” because of all of the physical exercise that the animals get as they roam free. He controls more than 107.000 hectares of pasture distributed through the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Diet is a sign of excellence at Joselito. During the Montanera (major grazing period), which lasts from November to March, each animal roams the pastures, consuming 15 kilos of acorns per day, and going from an approximate weight of 23 kilos when weaned to between 170 and 190 kilos at the end of the montanera when it is 2 years old. They graze for two montaneras and at other times of the year eat the best natural feeds and grasses from the pastures. The sea salt used in curing comes from the Cadiz salt mines and each piece of ham to be cured is hand-stacked and covered in salt for seven to ten days, depending on its weight (approximately one day of curing for each kilo.) The curing takes place in the beautiful Bodegas de Guijuelo (Salamanca), which are made of a special limestone and house an ecosystem with thermic variations from -5°C to 30°C during a year-long cycle, which allows the ham to mature to its optimum point after 24 to 36 months. The cellar has over 1.000 manually opened windows facing the mountains, and in the summer the Ham is moved to a dark cellar (much like wine).

How should you eat or cook it?  

The fat is also great for cooking. The ham is best accompanied by bread, if possible pan de crista, with a light crumb that doesn’t mask the flavor of the ham.

What wine should you drink with it? 

It is ideal with Dom Perignon or other Cuvées from the best Champagne makers and it is fantastic with a good Fino de Jerez.

How should you keep it? 

In a cool, dry place. Before cutting into it, the ham keeps better hanging, covered with a cloth and out of direct light. About 18°C is the optimum temperature. Once it’s been cut, save the fat you remove at the beginning and place it over the cut sections of the ham like a second skin, so that it doesn’t lose freshness, and then wrap it in plastic wrap to avoid contact with the air.

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