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The New York Times - November 01, 2011
The New York Times

Top Spanish Ham, Now Found in the United States

Florence Fabricant

Top Spanish Ham, Now Found in the United StatesThe top Spanish ham comes from purebred black-footed Ibérico pigs that feed on wild acorns. Now, for the first time, it is available in the United States. The brand with the most cachet is 5 Jotas, in business for more than 100 years. It took four years to get final approval from federal agencies. At present, the front-leg ham, called the paleta, above, is available. The hind legs, which take longer to cure, will be available in a few months. Slices of 5 Jotas are silky and rosy, with no sign of drying, and a flavor that’s irresistibly nutty-sweet, with succulent fat. Dehesa, another, less expensive brand — which says its hams are also from purebred Ibérico pigs, and are raised by members of Covap, a cooperative — will reach American stores in about two weeks. A preview sample of the Dehesa paleta was somewhat deeper in color than the 5 Jotas, but was also nut-sweet, satin-textured and mellow.

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