TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration of Taiwan approved the food safety and transportation standards for the importation of the world famous Jamones Iberico, or Iberian ham, cured ham from Spain for sale on the Taiwanese market.
However, due to the heavy demand and the traditional curing process the meat must undergo, from 24 to 36 months, the first batch of the highest quality Iberian ham was just imported into Taiwan in late February. Now the finest selection of the prized ham, a renowned treat from Southern Spain, has been made available for Taiwanese consumers.
The Fresh and Aged Italian Steak House in Neihu, Taipei, which is operated by one of Taiwan's largest meat importers Mayfull Foods, is one of the first locations in Taiwan where the famous ham is available, however due to limited supply and the rigid production schedule for the ham in Spain, the Iberico ham will only be available until March 25.
The next batch of the prized ham is expected to finish the curing process and arrive in Taipei in early 2019. In the meantime the Fresh and Aged Steakhouse is offering a special promotion for customers.
Iberian ham is a specialty product from Spain or Portugal which uses only purebred (or 50 percent) Iberian pigs that are native to the region (the Iberian Peninsula). The pigs must be raised on a free range and be fed an all-natural diet of grain or acorns, with the acorn fed pigs considered the highest quality.
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There are front legs and rear leg cuts which require different curing times. The absolute highest quality Iberian ham, which is also one of the most expensive pork products in the world, are the rear haunches of the acorn fed pigs, which are cured for 36 months. This product is known as “Bellota” ham in Spanish.
The ham itself has an incredibly soft texture, and is equally sweet and salty, but only to a very subtle degree. The light oils of the ham create a very distinct aroma, which nicely complements the mildly smoky, tangy flavor of the ham, delivering a taste that lingers on the taste buds.
(Image from Mayfull Foods)
The ham makes for an excellent pairing with red wines, crusty bread, and strong cheeses.
The “Bellota” ham available at the Fresh and Aged Italian Steakhouse, is from the Blazquez Farm, an outstanding name in the industry, known for their beautiful park land range. The business was founded in 1932 and has remained true to their traditional artisanal methods of raising pigs, and curing meat.
Over the last several years, the Chinese market was also opened to the import of Iberian ham, and it has become so popular that ham producers in Spain are having a hard time keeping up with demand, and have had to raise domestic prices to keep their production balanced with the new markets.
That’s another reason to try the ham while it is available this year until March 25. While importers anticipate yearly arrivals of the product, the supply of such a sought after product is never a sure thing.
For any food connoisseurs that would like to try Iberian ham, head to the Fresh and Aged Italian Steakhouse in Neihu, where an individual serving of the ham (25 grams) is available for NT$ 580 (US$ 19), a serving of Iberian ham pumpkin risotto is also available for NT$ 680 (US$ 22).
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