An Ode to… Jamón

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You’ll find some of the world’s finest cured meat in Spain. And the very finest of that fine cured meat is a thin sliver of ruby red Jamon Iberico de Bellota, jewelled with white fat that should, if it’s of the very best quality, melt onto your tongue. Sweet, earthy, salty and nutty, order a plate full with a glass of red or, better still, a sherry.

Our favourite places to eat jámon:

Daní Garcia’s Bibo, Puente Romano hotel, Golden Mile, Marbella
It’s not just the jamón that is extraordinary at Michelin-starred chef Dani García’s whimsical take on a tapas bar come brasserie. But be sure to start off your tour of his menu with a plate of excellent quality jamón.

El Lola, Bar de Tapas y Flamenco, Calle Guzmán el Bueno, 5, Tarifa
In a town of – bizarrely – very few good eating opportunities, El Lola is a great spot in this surfer’s paradise for a caña (“can-ya”; a small beer) and a plate of jamón. Service is warm – the waiters wear cute little flamenco pinnies – but sadly the rest of the menu is on the mediocre side, with over-use of the microwave.

Parador de Granada, Granada
Jamón with a view. Utter perfection.

Jamón (“ham-on”) facts:

• Like Champagne and Parmegiano Reggiano, producers of jamon Iberico de bellota must adhere to the strict standards of the Denomination of Origin.
• Iberico piggies feast on the acorns from Encina oak trees – these little acorns are what give the pig’s fat its incredibly smooth, almost creamy texture.
• It takes three years to cure the meat in salt.
• The front legs (paleta) are cheaper than the chunky back legs (the actual jamón).

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