I started a thread before on this, but feel it’s time to revisit. Imports of Jamon Iberico became legal in 2007 and the Bellota in 2008. I just bought the best ham on earth. 2oz for $35. $280/lb. I miss living in Spain.
I was lucky enough to visit Spain ca. 2007 and ate a ton of Jamon. Pata negra, etc. I would go into the shops and get a few slices of many different ones. Truly incredible, and I loved the way they sliced the ham with those long thin knives.
I would rub it on my lips and the inhale the funk, and then eat. In the really good ones you could taste the nuttiness from the diet of the pigs, and the fat was outrageous.
Unfortunately the presliced stuff isn’t as fragrant, but it’ll do in a pinch.
It was banned until 2007 in the States because the FDA greatly errs on the side of caution. Other than that, I will leave it to others to answer that.
It has been years since I have been able to get back to Spain and for some reason in the last few months the Jamon has been calling for me. I would much rather be in a cafe in Spain and have it sliced right off the leg, but unfortunately the presliced is all I have available where I am. I plan on having a great Charcuterie on Friday. I bought it on Saturday and literally take the package out and stare at it in anticipation every night. I think I have a problem.
A few years ago I found some at a local specialty grocery store. It was $100/lb so I asked them for a quarter of a pound just to try it. They wouldn't hand it to me, told me to continue shopping and they'd bring it to me at the register when I was ready to leave. That's never happened to me before lol. It was so yum.
I was very disappointed in my spanish experience of jamon. My first try was from a local tapas restaurant and it was fabulous. But everywhere we had a chance to stop in Spain [on one of those package tours] it was the same 20 euro a pound stuff, or lower, very good but nothing really special. I looked and asked and no one could tell me where, it was like the typical spanish don't know their own food. My luck abroad I guess, had much the same experience in France. At least I brought the good weather with me on both occasions. Oh I did have a memorable porqueta in Italy, ironically it came from a french specialty shop.
Next time I'm going to study Zimmer and whoever ahead of time and hopefully be prepared.
I wanna say we were in Segovia and I wandered into a shop that appeared to be a Spanish charcuterie, they had all sorts of chorizos and jamons hanging form the ceiling. My Spanish is terrible but (at least) one of the people in the shop spoke pretty good English and I managed to buy small amounts of several different hams--different ages, etc. I told him I was a chef in the states (even though I was still just a line cook at the time, I didn't know how to properly translate that) and he brought out one of the pata negras (said something like "best in the world") and gave me a very small slice...lol. It was amazing. I told him I'd buy 30g (I'm pretty sure it was like 1 large slice) and it was something like 9 Euros.
But man, was it good. I'm surprised he even sold me that small amount, he probably thought I must have a lot of money and would buy more.