Tapa Thursdays: The Effervescent Jamón Ibérico

Some thing are just better experienced than written about.

Among my favorite moments of my five years in Spain are the “early nights” that turn into café con leche as the sun rises the following morning, the way my feet magically stop tripping over themselves the minute I don my flamenco dress, and the hours mulling over great food with gorgeous Seville as a backdrop.

Food has given me a greater understanding of Spanish culture and family life, as well as the way people socialize. I’ve come to scrutinize wedding fare, steer clear of certain establishments and get filled to the brim with tó lo bueno.

The common theme throughout virtually any dining experience? El cerdo ibérico, Spain’s prized pig.

I suppose it doesn’t help that Kike’s father owns a farm that raises pigs until they’re nice and fat, ready to be sold to a matadero and served for a Christmas splurge. Pork, a food I once ate reluctantly, is now a staple in my diet.

I dragged the Novio along to the annual Feria Internacional del Cerdo Ibérico, a ham fest in one of Spain’s foremost regions in production. Under the Denominación de Origen de Huelva, 20 million euros are earned yearly from the production and distribution of the hind legs, called a pata. I’ve been waxing poetic for years about the fair, one in which you can eat, drink and practically be Miss Piggy for under 20€, stocking up on artisan products and anise.

It’s one of those things you’ve just got to experience.

What it is: One of Spain’s most expensive pork product, jamón ibérico is thinly sliced ham from the hind leg of an acorn-fed pig. The meat is conserved in salt, then hung to dry for a year or two. The white part, called tocino, is fat and considered to be the tastiest part.

Where it’s from: The mountain range that separates Andalusia from Extremadura is the hotspot for jamón in the south. Here, pigs feast on acorns until the springtime matanza, when they’re slaughtered. The best places to eat ham are in these small villages.

Where to get it in Seville: Many establishments offer tapas and plates of ham, particularly in the center and at smaller bars in outlying neighborhoods. Try it on a mantecaíto sandwich at Bodeguita Antonia Romero, C/ Gamazo, 16.

Goes perfectly with: Good friends and a glass of fino. Ham tends to end up on panes, on montaditos and in tacos, or small bits as a garnish.

Check out my second appearance talking on Spanish TV, around minute 31:30

http://www.canalsuralacarta.es/television/video/viernes-19-de-octubre/31222/13 – Even my neighbor from 2ºIzq. has seen me!!

The Feria del Jamón y de Cerdo Ibérico is held yearly in the village of Aracena, 90 kilometres northwest of Seville. The fair tends to take place the third weekend of October, but the village can be visited year-round and boasts many beautiful sites.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Hi Cat,
    Just a heads up that the bar at Gamazo 16 is called Bodeguita Antonio Romero.
    The original Bodeguita Romero (and in my opinion, the best one) is located at Harinas 10.

  2. I, too, love those ‘early nights” that become sun rise mornings!
    I still haven’t developed a taste for jamón iberico… will see if that changes this year.
    The fair sounds like a heaven for jamón foodies!
    Lauren @ roamingtheworld recently posted..One month- Can you believe it?My Profile

  3. YUMMMMM! Loved this post and love Jamon! I am fortunate to work for a company who sells jamon now and get treated every now and again to it, but nothing comes close to the real deal in Spain. This fest has just been added to my bucket list for sure!

  4. What I wouldn’t do for some pata negra and a link of fresh morcilla. 😉 Nice pictures, Cat.
    APOML recently posted..Guest Post 2: Sunshine & SiestasMy Profile

  5. We’re headed to Spain this winter, and I’m so looking forward to tapas and cafe con leche. Definitely a culture I can get on board with!
    Micki recently posted..Defying Tradition: A Travelers Life For Me!My Profile

  6. Oh yummmmm….I read this at 4PM my time, a little too early for dinner but now I’m good and hungry for it!
    Jennifer recently posted..Ski Vacation Packing List: Key Items You Don’t Want to ForgetMy Profile

  7. hola soy cortador de jamon y megustaria trabajar en estados unidos,alguien me puede alludar?

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Hola, Miguel, muchas gracias por pasar. Menudo trabajo que tienes! Pues la verdad es que no sé mucho, pero parece ser que Kelly de arriba puede saber. ¿Quieres trabajar allí de cortador, o en el negocio, o de hostelería? Mantengamos contacto, habrá algo seguro que te interese! Un saludo.

      • muchisimas gracias por contestar la verdad que en un futro e gustaria montar un negocio pero en principio encontra un trabajo seria lo suyo he trabajado en varios catering y en cocina,un saludo guapisima

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        Un placer, que mis lectores me valen un montón! Y me está destraendo de mi máster, que es lo bueno. Mi suegro tiene una finca en la Sierra Norte y cria cerdos, así que me interesa buscar alguien que venda en EEUU, ya que mi tío se pasó de mi con su empresa de importaciones italianas. A ver si investigo y me entero de algo…mientras que me pases jamón si estoy por allí! Un abrazo.

  8. Eso ni lo dudes el jamon no te faltara,y si lo acompañamos con un fino mejor,bueno pues nada haver si hay suerte.Hasta pronto

  9. Mmmmm, this was one of my favorite things about Spain. So good!
    Callie recently posted..ROLLIN’ ON THE RIVERMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I feel so fortunate to not only live close to where the jamón is produced, but to have a family member who raises pigs. Free jamón all year long!

      • Hola te quedria hacer una pregunta,que diudad me recomendarias en EE UU para trabajar y que el clima sea agradable?

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        Hombre, diría Chicago porque soy de allí! Puede que te guste San Francisco o Denver si buscas una ciudad más o menos grande. Se cambian las estaciones y son ciudades dinámicas y jóvenes.

  10. hola , que tal? me preguntaba yo, me vere en EE UU,saves halgo? porque en marzo tengo que salir a trabajar donde sea esto esta muy mal,si ves necesario que nos conozcamos y conocer que se podria desarroyar en el futuro y hacer planes no me importaria visitar las instalaciones,vivo muy cerca, y lo podriamos hablar por si seria ha largo plazo me podria ir preparando el idioma, tengo mucha ilusion con este negocio en los EE UU puede ser muy interesante.bueno chica un saludo


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