Monday, July 21, 2008

Jamón ibérico....

It was exactly three years ago that Mr. H and I were adventuring our way through Spain. It was our first time in Europe (not that we have been back again... yet), and we were traipsing our way in a country whose language we did not completely understand.

Jamón ibérico is similar to a prosciutto, but only produced in Spain and Portugal. The pigs eat acorns, which is part of the reason it has such a beautiful flavor.

Our very first meal there was Jamón ibérico. It was sliced thinly, and served on hard crusty bread with tomato oil. We came to a sandwich shop, and I made Mr. H stop because I really, really wanted to try this jamon I had heard so much about. He didn't get it at first, but after one bite.... In Spain, I don't think we went to a restaurant that did not serve it. Just about every restaurant legs of ham hung from the ceiling. I think we ate jamon every single day.
And because of this gluttony of ham, it made us even more sad when we found out that jamón ibérico was not available in the states. Three years ago, it was illegal to import it into the states. But trust me, I seriously, SERIOUSLY considered sneaking one of the legs into my carry on luggage.

I had heard that this ban had been lifted last year, but I had yet to see any.

Until Sunday.

Mr. H and I made a run to that city up north and stopped by the mecca of cheese and other tasty things, Zingermans. Which was where I saw the leg. And I nudged Mr. H and made a jamon comment, something like, "What does that remind you of... if only, right?" To which the guy behind the counter confirmed that it was indeed jamón ibérico. And would we like a taste? I begged Mr. H to say no, knowing that if we had a taste, we would end up buying some. It was expensive in spain, let alone imported to the states.

Two ounces. We ended up with two ounces of heaven.

Last night we ate gazpacho, a variety of cheeses and jamón ibérico. I wanted to cry.

Now if only I could find those fried peppers and fried fresh anchovies... And yes, I took a lot of pictures of ham while we were over there...

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