Travel guidebooks for the ultra curious, Approach Guides reveal a destination’s essence by exploring a compelling aspect of its cultural heritage: art, architecture, history, food or wine.
In the culinary world, no ham rivals Spain’s jamón ibérico in flavor or texture. Made from Iberian pigs raised on a diet of acorns in the woodlands (dehesa) of the country’s southwest, it must be tasted to be believed.
This guide explores everything that makes jamón ibérico special: the native purebreed pigs, the man-made dehesa ecosystem, the rearing system and the ham-making process. We save the most interesting part for last, demystifying the many classes of products so you know exactly what to look for when on location in Spain. For a food-loving traveler aiming to eat local, this guide is a must-have reference.
What’s in this guide
Context. We begin by providing context, describing the Iberian pig and the dehesa woodland ecosystem that supports it.
The ham itself. Having set the stage, we review how the pigs are reared and their unique diet. We then walk step by step through the ham-making process and the range of products available.
Advice for getting the best culinary experience. This guide supplies a map of Spain’s four Iberian ham-producing denominations and links to online resources where you can explore specific topics in more detail. Finally, we give our personal tips — including what to look for when purchasing and even wine pairing — for getting the most from your experience on location.
Information the way you like it. As with all of our products, this guide is optimized for intuitive, quick navigation; information is organized into bullet points to make absorption easy; and high-quality images are used to illustrate key points.
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