If there is one meat that Ms. Buddha can’t get enough of when in Spain, it’s the Jamón ibérico, which is basically cured ham – the best ones are made from black Iberian pigs who are fed acorns in order to give them a very sweet nutty taste. And for those looking for a mom and pop shop with one of the better ham experiences, look no further than Patapuerca.
One golden advice that my manager back in Sydney told me about eating when traveling is never be afraid to splash out a little – because you won’t be able to have the same quality even if you want to back at home. This is particularly the case for Jamon – where if you’re traveling – definitely go for the more expensive – frankly – even if the per kilo price is over a hundred euros – you’re only ever getting 100 grams or so – and the experience is truly unmatched. The shop is a very local store and when you entire – old granny greets you!
The staff didn’t speak any English so it was a bit of google translate of “what do you recommend” and just pointing, in the end, we went for a selection of salami, cheese, and 2 different cuts of bellota ham (higher class ham). Of course, I also went for a glass of wine (love afternoon drinking!)
The salami were fantastic with a light spiciness which paired really well with the wine – the biscuit that came with it had a nice crunch to it – a perfect start.
Next that came was the first cut of bellota ham – this cut had less fat but slightly better marbling on the edges, it came with a slight drizzle of olive oil and re-affirmed why this remains one of our favourite things to have while in Spain – the flesh had a very sweet flavour while it just melts in your mouth.
When it comes to cheeses – my heart almost always skips a beat when there’s “cheese board” on the menu – more often than not I tend to skip it because Ms. Buddha’s appetite could not take as much cheese and I don’t want to overeat (nor waste food) – but I am glad we ordered the cheese board. It came with a mixture of goats cheese, local cheese and more importantly, blue cheese – each out were mind blowing, especially the blue cheese which had an amazing aroma!
Last that came was the “best” cut of bellota and what is commonly the fattiest, the marbling is slightly less than the previous one although there’s a more defined fat section and “wow” is the only description I can say. The fat had an incredibly sweet nutty taste and both the fat and the flesh just melts the moment it enters the warmth in your mouth – truly wonderful.
If you’re looking for a very down to earth local experience to just enjoy a bit of Jamón ibérico, I cannot recommend this place more – you won’t be disappointed – plus the staff had the typical Spanish friendliness!