Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jamon Iberico de Bellota

I follow the Arkansas Times blog Eat Arkansas often to stay in touch with what's going on in the foodie community because lately there is soooo much going on!  So I recently read about the tasting of some luxe Spanish ham that several other food bloggers tried, and while I normally stay in my West Little Rock circumference which includes The Promenade at Chenal, Baker Elementary, and Whole Foods, I decided to venture all the way to Kavanaugh back to Hillcrest Artisan Meats(H.A.M.) to get me some.  I love their logo.
Jamon Iberico de Bellota is premium, thinly sliced, cured meat that is similar to the Italian antipasto Proscuitto di Parma, but in this case I guess it would be a great selection to add to your Spanish tapas with some Spanish olives and some manchego cheese.  It costs $96 per pound.  I asked for 10 thin slices, which was all I could afford since I was close to Dillards, and I also needed to replace my Chanel lipstick.  As you see here, 10 thin slices cost almost $10.

After I read the other posts about the Iberico, I wondered if there would be much of a difference between it and Serrano ham or the Prosciutto di Parma, my usual luxe ham at $19.99 per pound.  Compared to $96 per pound, my usual sounds like a bargain!  I remembered a time that I was at the Four Seasons in NYC Midtown Manhattan when a friend picked up a bottle of water that said, "If you open this bottle, $11 will be charged to your room."  She grabbed it, trotted down in her Prada clad feet, and took a few drinks.  I asked her how that $11 water tasted.  She said, "Like water."  I laughed.

Later on at a club in NYC called Scores, we were treated to a plate of strawberries and cream with a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal, which usually costs anywhere from $200 - $500, depending on where you are when you buy it.  Consider the cost of living in New York, though.  I asked my friend Frankie if she thought it tasted any different from other "champagne" that we'd had.  No, she admitted with her big Frankie blue eyes.   But I did notice that the bubbles floated straight up, which is one of the distinguishing characteristics of French champagne.

So I wondered how the high - dollar Iberico would compare to its common, less expensive counterparts.

When I ordered the Iberico, I asked if they would trim the fat around the outside.  They said no, eat the fat.  I later read on a web site somewhere that the free range, acorn - eating pigs have an antioxidant quality from the acorns that allows the meat to be cured for 2 - 3 years without spoiling.  During that time, 40% of weight is lost, and as the fat drips away, much of the fat is transformed into mono - unsaturated fat.  Wow.

I also read somewhere that the possible carcinogenic effects of nitrates and nitrites can be combatted with the inclusion of Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) during the time of consumption, so I had a San Pellegrino Blood Orange drink to go with my snack.  I am really hooked on that stuff.  Many say that the presence of nitrates or nitrites are so minute....but I've been deeply affected by a loss due to cancer, so I'm into Vitamin C.

I loved it.  If I had all the money in the world, I would eat it often!  It melts in your mouth, it tastes less salty than other comparable types of ham, and it's worth $10 just to have 10 slices!  Get it at Hillcrest Artisan Meats on Kavanaugh in Little Rock.

Also, check out other posts about the Iberico from other bloggers in Little Rock:
Arkansas Foodies: jamon-iberico-at-hillcrest-artisan-meats/
Fancy Pants Foodie:
The Mighty Rib:
Daniel at Eat Arkansas:
Southern Ash:


  1. Hooray! You are now a member of the Hermanos Jamones!

  2. It's official, HAM probably sold more of that stuff last week than it does in all year. Great post. You are now one of us #hermanosjamones #4life

  3. Thanks everyone for stopping by! Maybe I'll see you guys at the Food Truck Festival tomorrow! Would love to meet you all!