Jamón Serrano ham is a
source of great pride among Spaniards. For centuries,
they have rolled fresh hams in sea salt and hung them from their rafters
to cure. A year to eighteen months later the jamones are ready to mount on
special stands that are designed so that anyone can stop by, carve a few
paper-thin slices, and enjoy. A special, very sharp knife is sued for the job.
Jamón serrano is more than a
delicacy in Spain; it is a normal part of every family’s life. Every tapas bar
and neighborhood café have their own hams. Most families will have one on the go at home.
Once you have tasted a good Jamón Serrano, you will understand what all the fuss is about. It tastes like nothing else on earth. The quality does vary though so don't be put off if the first one you try isn't to your liking.
The secret to
jamon lies in its curing, using traditional techniques. This
tradition is kept alive in rural areas where in early winter, family and friends
gather to slaughter their livestock in preparation for the winter months. The hams
are placed in sea salt for a brief period of time (approximately one day per
They are then strung up. The right time to eat them is when an
experienced ham-master inserts a long splinter of cow bone and whiffs the jamón,
like a connoisseur of wine who sniffs the cork.