Umami: the taste of something indescribably delicious, like Pata Negra

More than one would draw a blank when challenged to explain Iberian ham, what it tastes like and what it can be compared with to somebody unfamiliar with it. If asking an ordinary citizen to describe its flavour following his gustatory experience, the safest would be to make reference to the lightly salty touch, to cured meat and to nuts. And it would fall short; it would be vague and incomplete. In this explanation it’s difficult to define the nuances that would be lost on those not particularly used to it. Because, what do you really know about Pata Negra? What makes it so tasty and long-lasting on the palate?

Our whole lives we have been taught in school that the four flavours are sweet, salty, sour and bitter. However, in the early twentieth century the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda identified a new concept which he called umami (literally, “delicious taste” in Japanese). This new flavour, unclassifiable as any of the other four, is closely related to the presence of certain amino acids in food: glutamic acid and ribonucleic. The combination of both in foods and recipes also helps to enhance the flavour of the ingredients that compose them. Umami is found in foods such as kombu seaweed, tomatoes, mushrooms, Parmesan, salted anchovies or cured meat.

Picture of Kikunae Ikeda Picture of a pata negra ham being sliced

Kikunae Ikeda (photo from Wikipedia) summarized the taste of jamón de bellota in one word.

Molecular theories aside, the named “fifth taste” is characterized by prolonging the pleasant aftertaste and producing salivation. It would come to be something as abstract and sensory as the impression of the exquisite, the perception of the tasty, a potentiation of good taste, but taste itself. Pata negra ham has had the privilege of being one of the foods listed as umami and thus has become part of the Olympus of flavours. The Ikedia hypothesis, ratified by subsequent studies, gives an acceptable explanation, scientifically speaking, of the king’s unconventional taste of Spanish cuisine.

Perhaps everything has its scientific proof and it’s a matter of pure chemistry, but for those who are not experts in molecular chemistry and live in conceptual ignorance and trust in the truth of our taste buds, we will retain the magic of tasting Iberian jamón de bellota and we experience the inexplicably and unclassifiable delicious taste.

Discover the umami in Iberic and serrano hams of Ibergour.com

Donation to Doctors Without Borders for battling COVID-19

On May 6th of this year, we launched a campaign to raise money for the fight against COVID-19. Thanks to the response of our customers, we were finally able to transfer the collected funds to Doctors Without Borders in the amount of €2,040.20.

Thanks to Alicia, Damián, Maria Eugenia, and all those who contributed their part so that the campaign would reach more people.

Thanks to Laura and Oscar, for always having the deboned and sliced hams ready on time, even on the busiest of workdays.

Thanks to Jaime, Chema, Jose, and the rest of the warehouse team, for getting the packages out on time throughout all these weeks.

Thanks to Edelmiro, Rocio, Javier and their colleagues in the transport companies, especially the drivers and delivery people, for working under the most complicated conditions while the majority of us were sheltered in our homes.

And above all, thanks to all our customers. Thank you for knowing how to enjoy life with the best ham, and for your solidarity.

Thanks to you.

 

Why doesn’t a good Pata Negra ham taste salty?

Pata negra ham slices on plateIf you are asked which is saltier, a slice of Iberian jamón de bellota or a crisp? The answer will almost always be the crisp. Moreover, if I ask you to first try a sample of each, the answer wouldn’t change.

The reality is very different: a bag of crisps typically contains 1.5g of salt per 100g of potatoes, while Pata Negra ham contains between 3 to 4.5g per 100g. Even the Serrano ham, which usually doesn’t even reach 5% salt content, seems significantly saltier than Bellota ham despite it having only slightly more salt.

Another example: seawater has a salinity of about 3.5%, but it seems much saltier than jamón.

What masks the salt?

The marbling fat and protein deserve credit in this case. As everyone knows, Iberian ham has a lot of fat marbling, which means the white streaks in the slice. If it’s also Bellota, the fat will melt in the mouth and inundate our taste buds. Thus, our taste buds will be concentrated on the fat and stop being so sensitive to the salt (the sodium of the salt, to be exact).

On the other hand, during the 3 or 4-year maturation period of a good Pata Negra, the salt combines with meat protein, reducing its impact on the taste buds.

Whereas Jamón de bellota seems sweet, it actually doesn’t have much less salt than Serrano ham. You should always follow the recommendations of experts not to consume cured ham more than 2 or 3 times a week, the equivalent to between 100 and 150g, and thus will not reach 15% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) by WHO (World Health Organisation). We can raise this amount if we moderate our consumption of salt in other foods such as salads and soups, for example. Worth the sacrifice, right?

We ship spanish ham (“Jamón”) to Hong Kong

UPDATE: Since June 23rd, 2020 we no longer ship to Hong Kong due to a change in customs regulation.

 

We are extremely happy to announce that starting today we now ship to Hong Kong! This includes all of our products:

Spanish ham:
https://www.ibergour.com/en/productos/sel/charcuteria/cat/tipoprod/

Ham stands and ham-carving knives:
https://www.ibergour.com/en/productos/sel/accesorio/cat/tipoprod/

We have recently partnered with DHL to make sure that the best spanish Jamon will fly to HK in good hands, get through customs with no hassles whatsoever, and be delivered at your door ASAP.

It sure has been a long wait, but we are confident that tasting the best spanish Jamón in Hong Kong at regular spanish prices will completely make up for it.

To fulfill your order, just proceed as you would for any online order. Just make sure you choose “Hong Kong” as your country destination when typing in your shipping address, and you will be good to go. The full payment will be completed in our site, no customs fees nor any extra expense will be needed for you to enjoy your Jamón.

Also, please note that the prices displayed on our site include local taxes (VAT) that do not apply for orders bound for HK. These will be removed from the total price of your order once you enter your Hong Kong invoicing data, which will be automatically requested during checkout.

Best regards,
Miquel Nieto, founder

Joselito Ham turns 150 years old

The most famous and recognized worldwide ham producer from Guijuelo just celebrated its 150th anniversary. Six generations have now dedicated themselves to ham processing, even though it didn’t bear the name Joselito for the first 100 years, when the current director’s grandfather realized its growing popularity.

Joselito Ham has its own herd of almost 35,000 pata negra pigs, with a genetic selection that allows the recognition of a cut not yet labeled. Another characteristic is that the company doesn’t use additives, except salt. No artificial colors, preservatives or lactose – just acorn-fed ham and salt.

The company that José Gómez currently runs has opted for internalization, research and development and positioning as luxury items. A success that its competitors have lost no time in trying to duplicate.

To celebrate it, 18 master cutters sliced several Vintage 2011 cuts (cured for more than 7 years) in an event that took place in Madrid’s Teatro Real on October 2, 2018.

It was one of the hams that we first sold at IberGour. We incorporated it into our catalogue at the end of 2006, and we can confidently say that it is a brand that creates loyal customers. In spite of some specific disappointments, the more than 300 opinions that have been sent to us and we have published prove our customers’ love for the jewel of Guijuelo.

We hope to keep processing this exquisite, aromatic ham for another 150 years at least, and that IberGour continues selling it online 😉

#JamonByTheFace Dakar Challenge

#JamonByTheFace Dakar Challenge: today along the day we will be tweeting pictures of #Dakar2018 competitors touching their faces. For every picture tweet, tomorrow we will draw a jamon among its retweets. To maximize your odds of winning a jamon for FREE, press this button:  and retweet as many pictures as you wish as we publish them.

Even better: if you find the picture of a competitor from whom we have not published a picture yet, tweet it with a mention to @ibergour and you will get a free jamon directly, NO DRAWS! Just remember that:
  • it must be a competitor from whom we have not published a picture yet
  • they must appear touching their face
  • it must be verifiable that the picture was taken today
  • your tweet must mention @ibergour

Example:

Peterhansel se toca la cara

Rules:

  1. You can earn at most one jamon, either because you were the first one to tweet a valid picture or because you won a draw.
  2. You are not required to be the author of the picture. It can be someone else’s picture, a video frame, whatever.
  3. We will accept tweets/retweets until 24:00 today, Madrid time (GMT+1).
  4. There must be at least 10 retweets on the same picture for there to be a jamon draw for that picture.
  5. If you live in the EU*, we will ship your jamon for free. If you want it delivered somewhere else, the jamon is yours but you shall take care of shipping yourself (making arrangements for shipping, fulfilling taxes, shipping expenses).
    * We do not ship to the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Ceuta, Melilla, Azores, Madeira, British Crown Dependencies or the Channel Islands in general.

Results

Yesterday we found all these pictures of Dakar 2018 competitors touching their faces:

This tweet had 12 RTs, and the jamon goes to: @Superxeta

This tweet had 12 RTs, and the jamon goes to: @karlo2011

Other competitor pictures that did not make it to the minimum number of RTs:

The “Jamón de Huelva” Designation of Origin changes its name to “Jabugo”

Jamon de Huelva is renamed as Jamon de JabugoAfter several years of litigation, the Supreme Court of Madrid has overturned the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture which originally denied the name change. From now on, the “Jamón de Huelva” Protected Designation of Origin will be renamed “Jabugo”.

So far, only hams produced in Jabugo, such as Cinco Jotas, could carry this mark on its label. This left out a lot of producers in the same area (Sierra de Aracena), which could not benefit from the power of this brand although they still offered high quality Pata Negra ham with similar characteristics.

In favour of this change were the city of Jabugo itself, the Regulatory Council of the D.O and many residents and businesses within the swine industry. The main opposition was the Asociación Auténtico Jabugo (Jabugo Authentic Association) and two major manufacturers: Sánchez Romero Carvajal (Osborne Group), which is the manufacturer of Cinco Jotas, and Consorcio de Jabugo (Agrolimen Group).

From a consumer’s point of view, the change appears positive because it simplifies the product. Enough people have difficulty keeping up with the differences of race, food and the zone of production of pigs, and above all also need to know that Jamón de Jabugo is Jamón de Huelva, but that Jamón de Huelva can’t be considered as “de Jabugo”.

As for quality, the Regulatory Council will now have to ensure a much more valuable mark than previously, and should therefore put extra controls and filters in place in order to prevent a potentially huge disaster.

 

When will the change in D.O. come into effect?

It came into force last March. On August 1 2015 has been published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry published a resolution declaring it accepts the decision and the name change will come into effect, and on March 7 2017 the new name was entered in the Community Register of PDOs and PGIs.