In mid-December I was with a film team from Kabel Eins, first in Lower Franconia in a processing plant for acorn pigs and then a week later southwest of Munich in the butcher's factory, which uses it to produce acorn ham Made in Germany. Our mission was to find out if this German ham could compete with the famous Jamón Ibérico (de Bellota). The result: the ham does not have to hide behind anything or anyone, tastes wonderfully aromatic, mildly nutty and sweet and has an extremely tender, melting fat, which accounts for a large part of its specialness. I liked it so much that we have now included it in our range as a one-off promotion. You can read more details about this highly interesting culinary excursion in this older blog post .
A month later we flew to Montpellier in southern France with the entire Maître Philippe team to visit the big organic wine fair "Millésime Bio" (More on that soon). On the way there we had time for a short stopover in Barcelona, which I used to buy some real Jamón Ibérico. That must have been a happy decision, because on the evening of my return I was hungry, but there was almost nothing left in the fridge, which - I'll gladly admit - is of course still quite a lot for a delicatessen subsidiary. Among other things, I "found" various hams, from which I spontaneously put together a ham tasting: the two freshly acquired varieties Jamón Ibérico (one that has matured for 5 years and one that is unknown, i.e. probably 36 months of aging), the German acorn ham Made in Lower Franconia and our Porc Noir de Bigorre cured ham from the black Pyrenees pig. Also a pack of Catalan duck ham, which was included on the tasting table out of competition.
From left to right: the German acorn ham, the ham from the Black Pyrenees pig, the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota aged for 5 years, the other Jamón Ibérico (36 months?)
Far left: the German acorn ham. Center top: the ham from the black Pyrenees pig, center bottom: the other Jamón Ibérico (36 months?). Top right: the 5-year-old Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, bottom right: the Catalonian duck ham.
A ham tastes best if you take it out of the fridge and pack in good time before tasting so that it can reach room temperature and develop its full aroma. It looks particularly beautiful here as it is presented on an oiled American walnut slab handcrafted by our friend Arnd Seibert from Ovaso .
And now: get to the bacon and bon appétit!
The tasting notes: First of all, I really have to point out that all the candidates present are of an outstanding quality and have repeatedly elicited noises of ecstasy from the tasters, flanked by finger licking and various glances, accompanied by coy but happy smiles.
The bright, light red German acorn ham, with its mild, nutty, sweet taste, is on the first level of the spiciness scale and is therefore ideal as a premium ham for beginners. It is characterized by a pleasant smoky note that comes from being stored with other smoked ham products. Its texture is very tender and the fat is pithy. In the mouth it melts on the tongue and thus contributes significantly to a very nice, round taste experience.
The darker Porc Noir de Bigorre ham is more intense. The lean meat tastes extremely aromatic, complex and fruity and is reminiscent of Bayonne ham. The fat is mildly sweet with nutty notes and forms a wonderful contrast. Together, the result is a very round taste in the mouth with clear notes of dried fruit.
The 36 month matured (?) Jamón Ibérico de Bellota tastes completely different, which we suspect is partly due to the fact that the fat and lean meat are not separated as clearly as with the other hams, but that the meat is literally separated from the fat is interspersed and looks like red marble. Its taste is intense and somehow fruity-sweet and also less salty than its predecessors. One tastes it in unity, as lean meat and fat cannot be separated from one another, which leaves a very harmonious impression. Also for beginners for whom the very mature ham might be too spicy.
The 5-year-matured Jamón Ibérico de Bellota marks the highest level on the spiciness scale and offers exactly the meaty, aromatic ham taste that you expect when you think of Spain. Very strong in character and spicy, somehow deep, dark, almost earthy and very long-lasting. If the Pyrenean ham goes in the direction of Bayonne ham, then it can be located in the direction of Serrano ham. Just for orientation, because of course we are dealing with a much higher quality product here.
Finally, the duck ham tastes really different! The duck flavor comes through clearly - no smoky flavor or other spice to distract from the core here, which is nice - and when the fat melts in the mouth it reminds me of good olive oil. It is spicy to creamy and has the least sweetness of all tasted hams.
The conclusion: We can warmly recommend the very elegant German acorn ham to beginners and all those who don't want to dig too deep into their pockets. Its mildly sweet nuttiness should also appeal to children or a bit squeamish eaters and because the slices are nice and thin, you can easily swallow a lot of it.
Black Pyrenean ham is for more experienced gourmets who want to discover something new. Its aromatic richness and the fact that the slices are medium thick mean that you can enjoy it slowly and with the 4 slices from the pack you can easily make 2 - 4 people very happy.
Spanish hams are in a class of their own and confirm the reputation they enjoy around the world. The 5-year-old is without a doubt a wonderfully flavorful ham for true gourmets with a palate used to character products - the other stands out from all the others for its fruity note and is therefore the surprise of the evening.
Due to the small slices, the duck ham can be nibbled like pralines and inspires with its great authentic taste. It also makes you want to think up tapas with it.
And now it's your turn! Why not try which one you like best and send us your feedback to email@example.com