It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

In Spain Christmas doesn't really get under way until after the feast of The Immaculate Conception which falls on 8th of December. Two items in particular may be considered foods closely associated with the season; a 'proper' ham and suckling pig. All the family get together on Christmas Eve in the same way that we have our big meal on Christmas Day. So, if you are a numerous family, then instead of packets or freshly sliced ham, you need to go the whole hog - or one back leg certainly. I spare you the sight of the suckling pigs lest you are squeamish, but here are a couple of photos I took this morning of the hams on display. There are three grades of 'jamón'. There is Jamón Serrano which I suppose everyone is familiar with. This is the cured ham from the standard white footed pig that provides the vast majority of the pork eaten here. Then, a grade higher is Jamón Ibérica, which comes from the black footed Iberian pig. Then there is Jamón Bellota, from black footed Iberian pigs which have been turned out to feast on the fallen acorns, which give the ham its fine flavour. And the greatest of all is Bellota which is produce in the country around the town of Jabugo in Extremadura. That is superb (Iam told) and costs an absolute fortune.

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