We are continuing to share the Iberian Ham School with our guests adapting the experience to time and budget constraits! The wonders of the Jamón Ibérico Puro de Bellota (Acorn fed Iberico Ham) and its properties is a must do visit when visiting the Natural Biosphere Reserve Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche and we are happy to work out a visit to suit. Cliff and Natalie from Pasture Braised Food and Travel got in touch requesting a mini version of our 4 day break. Ángel met up with them at Museo del Jamón de Aracena at 15.30 where Ángel guided them around the museum and providing an insight into the history of the area and production of this top gourmet delight. He then brought them back via the local beauty spot “La Peña de Arias Montano” which provides glorious views over Álajar and beyond. I was waiting for them at San Marcos with the carving knives and sherry glasses chilled in the freezer and Ángel became master carver explaining the different cuts from the leg and the tricks of the trade.
Both Natalie and Cliff had a great time carving and more so eating the ham!
Meanwhile back in the kitchen I was busily preparing…beetroot gazpacho, Iberian pork casserole with chocolate and black pepper sauce, light lemon mousse all served on the terrace on a balmy summers evening.
Next morning, after breakfast including olive oil tasting and amoungst mutterings of “we should have stayed longer”, they set off to Jamones Eíriz – a two hundred year old traditional factory which organises a wonderful tour around their finca to see the pigs (pata negra, naturally) and then into great detail about the natural elaboration of sausages and jamones once inside the factory and bodegas (ham “cellars”) and finally carving and tasting of this singular product, a real experience for your senses in 24 hours! Fond farewells amongst more mutterings of “we should have stayed longer” Look forward to reading your post Natalie…
Our next made to measure trip came about from a phone call from Alejandro at Hotel Chancillería in Jerez de la Frontera last Friday “Hi can you help me? We have a couple of guests who only have a day but would really love to find out more about the Pata Negra” – No problem! On Sunday Ángel met Michael, a butcher from Germany, and his girlfriend at the Museo del Jamón de Aracena and then brought them back to Alájar to visit our local ham curer Juan Carlos Sierra de Arias Montano, who breeds his own pigs and cures them here in Alájar, a much smaller operation than Jamones Eíriz but an interesting visit non the less. Again knives and frozen sherry glasses where at the ready along with a plate of organic tomatoes dressed with fresh oregano picked that morning from our neighbours garden for the master carver.
Teaching a butcher on how to carve pata negra
Word seems to be getting around as 2 more sets of guests also enquired about the Pata Negra and if they could visit a finca, so on Sunday it was then my turn to ask a favour and quickly got in touch with Domíngo at Jamones Eíriz to see if we could do a visit on Monday. No problem! Ruud and Marieke from Holland and Marc and son from France all enjoyed the tour and tasting in Cortelazor before coming back to chill off at the pool at La Posada de San Marcos.
Domingo explaining how the Iberian ham fat begins to melt at a lower temperature and will stick to it’s plate easily
An intensive few days spent sharing our knowledge about this wonderful product along with the differences between Manzanilla wine from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Sherry from Jerez and the wine aged in the little oak barrel Ángel has got in the Posada San Marcos, all tucked away in the north west corner of Andalucia. We have now had visitors from Singapore, Ireland, England, USA, France, Germany and Holland. Where will our next guests be from?