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Champagne and Iberian ham

Sergio Alba, International sales manager and Pedro, master cutter

I received an invitation from Le Manoir, a gourmet store with a selection of over 1500 wines representing Comtesse du Barry and Fauchon in Romania, to attend an interesting event on TUE Nov 9: a tasting of different Iberian hams and charcuterie products they import from Carrasco, Guijuelo in Spain, accompanied by a wine tasting.

the master cutter in action

Two representatives of the Spanish company presented their products available through Le Manoir in Romania: Sergio Alba, International sales manager and Pedro, the master cutter.

There is a lot of interesting information I found out from Mr Alba’s presentation:

– the Iberian ham is very strictly regulated and there is a Denomination of Origin status for Guijuelo.

– there are different levels of maturation for Iberian hams going from 24 to 36+ months prior to be released.

– parts of the same leg or shoulder can taste differently.

– for the Iberian ham to carry the name Bellota, the highest of the appellation, there are several rules the producer must follow: to ensure that the pigs are walking free and eat acorns, each pig has to have about 5000 sqm available to walk around, the maturation process is 36+ months long and a few more regulations.

– the Iberian ham contains about 70% of the same type of fats as the olive oil making it a very healthy product.

– it seems that the person that cuts pieces from the Iberian ham is thoroughly trained and has a special status and his experience is as important as the quality of the Iberian ham itself. Pedro, the master cutter present for this event had a 20 years experience.

cutting Iberian ham

All their products are very good, but the Bellota is amazingly delicious.

36+ months matured Bellota ham

The wine pairing was very good, they served two Champagnes: a white and a rose Duval Leroy and Cepa 21, a 100% Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero aged in French oak for 12-14 months. Mr Sergio Alba recommended Champagne as a better pairing for the Iberian ham and indeed the bubbles are containing very well the fat from the ham making it a delicious pairing, especially the rose.

rose Duval Leroy pairs really well with the Iberian ham

Both Champagnes were really good, but my favorite was the rose Duval Leroy with a more pronounced creamy and nutty character.

Cepa 21 2006 and Champagne Duval Leroy

Cepa 21, 2006 vintage shows plenty of sweet ripe dark fruits covered by a nice lactic aroma. The wine is medium body with a creamy texture in the mouth, with plenty of dark fruit and a nice silkiness in the medium aftertaste. Very good wine.

different tasty products

The event was very educational, entertaining and the products really good. If one wants to indulge its senses into some good Iberian ham and charcuterie do visit Le Manoir for their good quality products.

Legend:

Jamón de Bellota (Ham of acorn) From an Iberian pig fed exclusively on a mountain diet of acorns and natural grasses. It is the most exquisite.
Jamón de Recebo From an Iberian pig that has been fed on a mixture of acorns, grasses and fodder.
Jamón de Cebo From an Iberian pig that has been fed with natural grasses and fodder.

Thanks for reading!

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