Manual de cocina bellotera para la era post-petrolera - César Lema Costas

 And his book: Manual de cocina bellotera para la era post-petrolera - César Lema Costas

100%  Acorn-fed ibérico ham

Acorn-fed 100% ibérico ham can be made only from pure-bred Ibérico pigs. These large, blackish animals have long slender legs and the characteristic black hooves, or patas negras, of the breed.

The only grazing species of pig that remains in Europe, the Ibérico pig is native to the natural pasturelands (dehesas) that cover large expanses of central and southwestern Spain in the provinces of Salamanca (Castile-León), Cáceres and Badajoz (Extremadura), Huelva and Córdoba (Andalusia), and Toledo and Ciudad Real (Castile-La Mancha). These natural ecosystems, dotted with holm oak trees and known as the deshesa, provide grasses, grains, tubers, insects, and wild mushrooms, as well as an abundance of acorns or bellotas, that Ibérico pigs consume in great quantities. All of this sets the Ibérico bellota hams apart from other categories of cured pork products.

During the last several months of the rearing period—a stage known as the montanera—the pigs are left to roam freely through the dehesa, consuming vast quantities of these sweet and nutty acorns. Each Ibérico pig forages on approximately three to six hectares (7.4 to 14.8 acres) of the dehesa in its lifetime.

This roaming habit, along with the fact that Ibérico pigs are naturally able to store fatty deposits in their muscles, makes their meat particularly moist with a firm texture, and yields its prized, nutty flavors and aromas.

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