Filed under: Auctions
If the taxes on imported ham are getting you down, there is a line of Virginia Country Ham prized to give the European imports a run for their money. The 2008 vintage of S. Wallace Edwards & Sons' Surry Farm includes a line of whole cured Surryano Ham. The company specializes in traditional Virginia country ham but curemaster and president Samuel Wallace Edwards III has also developed a deep appreciation for the flavors of European dry-cured ham and wanted to create that flavor here in the U.S.
The name Surryano is a mix of Surry, Virginia and Serrano ham and the ham is made from six spotted Berskhire pigs, pasture raised with no antibiotics or added hormones. For the 2008 vintage, the company worked on creating a richer ham and fed the hogs two pounds of Virginia peanuts per day in addition to the natural feed and pasture to create meat with a richer marbling. Each ham is cured using Edwards special blend of salt and spices, smoked for seven days, wrapped in netting and hung from wooden frames in warm temperatures – in the case of the 2008 vintage, for 18 months. This aging time imparts a rich concentrated flavor. Like European hams, the Surryano is meant to be sliced thin. The whole Surryano bone-in ham sells for $148, the boneless is $165 and the sliced packages are $26.
LaTienda, an online retailer of Spanish wine and food, is selling hams that they have already imported with the foot attached for around $1,395 for a 15-pound ham. Another reason to buy now is a new tax that goes into effect on April 23. The tax is 100 percent on cured Spanish hams shipped with the bone.
The AP quotes Jonathan Harris, co-owner of LaTienda.com as saying the ham won't be the same without the hoof. The ham is made from pampered free range pigs each given an acre of space and fed a diet of acorns. The jamon Iberico is considered to be the most delicious ham with a rich flavor and silken mouthfeel.
Filed under: Dining
Look hard enough and you can find the world's most expensive anything. From water and beer, to coffee and dessert , somewhere somebody is producing a luxe version. Today, we bring you Alba Quercus Reserve, the world's most expensive ham. You can't get it yet, but when it does become available in late 2008, the ham will sell for about $160 per pound - but you will have to buy the entire 13 pound ham or nothing at all.
How does one create the world's most expensive ham? Spanish ham producer Manuel Maldonado spoils his free-range pigs with a diet of high-quality acorns. The he slaughters them and cures the meat for two years - that's twice as long as his competition in the ham business. Exclusivity will add to the allure as Maldonado will produce just 80 to 100 legs of the 2006 Alba Quercus Reserve, so named for the year the pigs were slaughtered.
How will you know you are eating the best ham in the world? The pig's acorn diet will produce a ham that is rich in flavor and has an oily texture. As Maldonado says, "Ham provides us with life."
Filed under: Dining
Lovers of Spanish foods and of pork are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first jamon iberico to the US. Unfortunately, the specialty meat won't be available until at least winter 2007 and if you wait until winter 2008, you'll be able to get an even larger ham. In both cases, you'll need to lay out a deposit of several hundred dollars to reserve your piece of the pig. In the meantime, you can opt for some excellent Serrano Ham, which is similar to an intense prosciutto and is served in much the same way, sliced very thinly and used to accent other foods. This Whole Bone-In Serrano Ham from Williams-Sonoma even comes with an interesting wooden stand for presentation and serving. Think of what an interesting display it would make at upcoming holiday parties! Price: $279.