Everything You Need to Know About Spanish Ham – Part 1

Published : 04/27/2018 14:29:40
Categories : Eatapas & more , Eatapas News

Calling all food-lovers! Ham is without a doubt one of the most popular Spanish products.

Juicy ham is a product that has become synonymous with Spain. There’s nothing better than a slice of authentic Pata Negra melting in your mouth!
But, how much you know about Spanish ham? What is that makes it so delicious?
If you’re keen to satisfy your hunger for knowledge, you’re in luck. Here’s everything you need to know about Spanish ham.

Introducing You to Spanish Ham

Don’t feel frustrated if you’re puzzled when it comes to buying Spanish ham.
It’s likely you might feel lost among the jungle of definitions and labels you come across, including:
• Serrano
• Ibérico
• Ibérico de Bellota
• Pata Negra
• Ibérico de Cebo de Campo
• Ibérico de Cebo
• Paletilla

We’re here to dispel your doubts. We want to make you a sharper and more mindful Spanish ham enthusiast!
There are many factors that impact the flavour of the ham, and most you’re probably unaware of!

Understanding Spanish Ham

Behind the generic Spanish ham label, there are two completely different, but equally popular, products: Serrano ham and Ibérico ham.
What’s the difference?
That’s easy: the breed of pig.
Serrano ham is made from white pigs (Duroc, Landrace, Pietrain and large white) while Ibérico ham is made from either purebred black footed Iberian pigs or Iberian pigs crossed with Duroc pigs.

Quality depends on 3 main factors, other than the breed:
1. Feeding
2. Farming system
3. Environment and climate

Difference Between Serrano Ham and Ibérico Ham

If you want to be able to compare different products, you need to be familiar with some basic notions about characteristics and production methods of Serrano and Ibérico ham.
To make it easy, we have summarised these differences in the table below:

The Best Spanish Ham Pairings

Now that you know the background and what helps create the mouth-watering flavour we’re all familiar with, what foods does Spanish ham pair best with?


Wondering which wine best brings out the flavour of the ham? We suggest a glass of red wine from Rioja or Ribera del Duero.

Pa Amb Tomàquet

We all love the delicious taste of Pa Amb Tomàquet (tomato-rubbed bread). While this dish is tasty on its own, try topping it off with a slice of Spanish ham.
This adds a whole new dimension to the dish and is the perfect marriage of flavours! It’s best enjoyed in the sun paired with a bottle of wine.


If you’re a food-lover, you’re probably wondering which cheeses pair best with Spanish ham.
Mahon cheese is the perfect pairing to Serrano ham, along with an accompaniment of olives. Alternatively, mild sheep’s cheese is the perfect pairing to Ibérico ham.
Don’t forget to wash these pairings down with a nice glass of wine!

Keep following us. In the next weeks we will unveil much more information and curiosities about Spanish Ham
Love the authentic taste of Spain? At Eatapas, we’ve made it our mission to bring artisan Spanish products straight to your door. Browse our store here!

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