What is Iberico Ham? Spain’s Unique Food and Absolutely Delicious (Video)

iberico ham pigs

What is Iberico ham?

If you are one of the lucky tens of millions of people who holiday in Spain every year or, are even luckier and actually live here, you have probably eaten Iberico ham.

One of Spain’s most famous foods, eaten at millions of different restaurants and hotels all over Spain, and known as one of Spain’s most important exports, you may also have wondered what is Iberico ham? What makes it so different from other types of ham around the world, and why do Spaniards (and the rest of the world) love it so much?

Iberico ham is only manufactured in Spain and Portugal

If you buy Iberico ham and the label says it was made in any country other than Spain or Portugal then, no, it isn’t Iberico ham. That’s because Spain and Portugal are the only two countries in the world that produce it.

What makes Iberico ham so special?

The ham only comes from black Iberian pigs, and most of them are raised in southern Spain or south eastern Portugal.

They are fed on barley and maize to fatten them up then, after they reach a few months old, they are released into pasture and woodland to forage for their own food. That consists mainly of grass, acorns, and roots and is one of the reasons Iberico ham has such a distinctive taste.

Add into the mix the involved curing process of every Iberico ham, which involves salting the ham after slaughter and then leaving it to cure for up to four years, and it’s no wonder it’s one of the most purchased and eaten hams in the world.

For more about what Iberico ham is, watch this excellent video from La Tienda. They are one of Spain’s most popular companies when it comes to Iberico ham and Iberico ham products.