Iberian ham is considered a gastronomical luxury and one of the most recognised identity signature from Spain. Not all hams are Iberian since to earn that label they must come from Iberian ham with at least 50% purity, be raised free and curate for 24-48 months. All of these requirements make it an irresistible and praised product.
Exclusive Iberian hams from Alto Genal
One of the most exclusive products from the province of Málaga, the so-called chestnut ham from Málaga, has recently been released. The main difference with traditional Iberian ham is that the pigs have been feeded with chestnuts. Introducing this nut, together with acorn, cereals and other products, to their diet makes the difference in the final product. Thanks to this, the ham, once is curated, gets unique tones, such as softness and texture, which are some of its unmistakable tones. Nowadays, the production of chestnut ham takes place mostly in Alto Genal, an area of Serranía de Ronda with an ideal environment both for the breeding of pigs and the curation of hams.
Its limited and artisanal production ensures that the product has an outstanding flavour. In fact, they only use sea salt in the drying process to guarantee the maximum quality. This, together with the weather conditions in this region, gives the ham its high gastronomical level. The rough land makes pig move in their search for food, which allows fat infiltration and makes the streaks of the meat reach its highest point. The climate is also important for Iberian pigs. It is very rainy, which makes the meadow rich in grass so they can have an optimum nutrition. Their feeding is controlled since birth and is based on cereals and legumes during the spring, summer and part of autumn, and a mixture of chestnuts and other types of acorn (ilex, dwarf oak, cork tree and gall-oak).
The origin of the term ‘chestnut ham’ in Málaga is relatively recent. Its use started ten years ago to focus the attention on the chestnuts that were been given to the Iberian pigs in the region of Genal. This aditional feeding of nuts from Serranía de Ronda takes place in the beginning of autumn. The amount of chestnuts they eat are a 10% of their total intake, but it is enough to give the ham special notes.
The so-called chestnut ham has less fats than acorn ham, but a higher content of protein. The total content of fatty saturated acids and Omega 6 is minimum. The content of oleic acid in this ham is important and it is the main component of its fats. Therefore, it is a healthier product than acorn ham.