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The New York Times - July 12, 2006
The New York Times

From Spain’s Prized Pigs, a Taste of What’s to Come

Florence Fabricant

Iberico Sausage
In a few weeks, New York shops are expected to start selling the special, costly meat from the black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain, including the Ibérico de bellota, the ones that are fattened on acorns.

Despaña, Fairway and Formaggio Essex, among other food shops, are expecting shipments of the lomo, or meat from the pigs’ loins, and sausages. Formaggio Kitchen in Massachusetts will also sell them, and they are available from tienda.com.

The lomo, which has been aged about four months, is a sausage-shaped piece of solid, dry-cured, burgundy-red meat. A pound or more, it is enclosed in a natural casing. It is richly meaty and, when sliced thin, excellent simply on a plate or in sandwiches. It is easy to cut at home with a sharp knife, and it offers the same depth of flavor that makes the ham, jamón Ibérico, a connoisseur’s delight.

The hams that are to be imported still have more than a year’s aging to go before they will be ready to be sold. The loin takes less time because it is a much smaller cut of meat.

Some of the meats are labeled “bellota,” indicating that they are from Ibérico de bellota. Bellota lomo has a nuttier, deeper flavor, more marbling and a slightly softer texture. Thick chorizo, seasoned with paprika, and salchichón, a kind of salami, are also available both from regular Ibérico and from bellota. The bellota is richer.

Until now, all the pork products imported to this country from Spain have been made from pigs raised and slaughtered in other countries, like Denmark, and cured in Spain. Ibérico products are from Spanish pigs and made by Embutidos Fermín, near Salamanca, in a facility approved by the United States Department of Agriculture. The products are imported by Fermín USA and have the label of José Andrés, a chef in Washington who is a partner in the venture.

The retail shops have not set their prices, but at tienda.com prices for sausages start at $19.95 for seven ounces of chorizo from the Ibérico pigs and go to about $31 a pound for 2.2 pounds of bellota sausage. The lomo is $178 for 2.2 pounds of Ibérico and $214 for 2.2 pounds of Ibérico de bellota.

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