AN Iberianham from ‘Dehesa Maladua’ in Huelva has been selected as the best in the world at Europe’s largest trade fair for organic food, the Biofach in Nuremberg, Germany.
It certainly should be decent since each leg costs an eye-watering 4,100 euros, making it not only the best but also the most expensive in the world.
The man responsible for the delicacy is Eduardo Donato, aged 67, a Catalan now settled in Cortegana, who claims not to be proud of the ham’s price, preferring to concentrate on its value on the plate, which he says is the result of years of “patience, passion and pleasure.”
Only 80 units of the premium product are sold each year because the ‘spotted Jabugo’ race of the Iberian pig is used to produce the legs, which are white instead of the more usual black.
The spotted Jabugo is extremely endangered, with little more than a hundred individuals remaining, and requires six years to grow to a size at which it can be cured.
Very few breeders are thus interested in maintaining the lineage, which also requires rigorous care, including a strictly organic diet with no chemicals used throughout the animals’ lives.
The pigs live freely, eating only acorns and grass, and Donato must undertake seven audits per year to certify the product as organic.
If an animal is wounded, oak ash or olive oil are used as ointments, while deworming is carried out using mint and pumpkin seeds.