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Gourmet - April 11, 2012
Gourmet

Eight of the World's Most Expensive Ingredients

Most Expensive Meat: Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Elizabeth Gunnison

Jamon Iberico de BellotaWhat: Jamón Ibérico de bellota refers to the cured leg of a pata negra pig that has been raised free-range in the old-growth oak forests of western Spain. The pigs eat a diet rich in acorns, wild mushrooms, herbs, and grasses, yielding meat that’s richly flavored and low in saturated fat. Each ham is cured for a minimum of two years before reaching the market.

How Much: A 15-pound bone-in leg of jamón Ibérico de bellota retails for around $1,300, or $87 per pound.

Why Pay More: The acorn-rich forests of western Spain make up an ecosystem that exists nowhere else in the world, and each pig requires at least 2 acres of land for ample foraging. That, in turn, strictly limits the amount of jamón Ibérico de Bellota available each year.

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