Friday, June 15, 2012

Jamon Museo (Ham Museum) - bellota bellota!

In response to my constant requests of jamon, jamon, our friend showed us the crème de la crème of jamon shops - Jamon Museum. The plethora of jamon, sausage, pâté were jaw dropping. We were able to taste all sorts of cured meats and paired with a generous serving of sangria.

Once again, complimentary chorizo sandwiches were passed out with the libations. The bellota is by far my favorite iberico ham and one of the most prized. Fed only on acorns and cured for 36 months, the glistening fat is melt in your mouth and the taste is subtly sweet and salty. Not surprisingly, I found myself ordering bellota everyday, everywhere it could be found. Hell, why not? We are in Spain after all.

"French chef Joël Robuchon informed me flatly in Paris, 'The ham and pork of Spain are the best in the world.' (We were speaking at the L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, his idiosyncratic—and mobbed—version of a sushi or tapas bar, where a plate of unadorned jamón ibérico is the most expensive dish on the menu.) In New York the telegenic Mario Batali recently opened Bar Jamón, which features Spanish tapas. Because of import restrictions, Bar Jamón can serve only jamón serrano, a cousin of jamón ibérico. Still, serrano is more than respectable. Chef Andy Nusser, who runs the kitchen at Bar Jamón, says that serrano ham is superior to prosciutto from Parma. However, he readily admits, 'Once you taste ibérico, you can't compare it to anything else.''

*After some research, the white blotches on the jamon I bought turned out to be the natural crystals  protein produces after being aged. It is these crystals that give jamon that umami flavor, much like aged cheese. I ignorantly complained to the vendor, asking him to exchange my packages for the jamon with less white spots, believing it was mold. I could slap myself in the face for this.*

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