Los Angeles Times - August 30, 2006
Pork Leg Futures
The ABCs of salumi
What's the hottest news in the world of cured meats? Jamón Iberico is coming to the United States. One of the treasures of Spanish gastronomy, jamón Iberico is made from black-footed pigs (hence the alternate name pata negra) that have been raised on acorns and wild plants.
Though it has been made in Spain for centuries, only in July was a producer certified by the Department of Agriculture to ship the hams to the U.S.
It is wildly expensive, even in Spain. In the U.S., prices are predicted to be in the $80 per pound range, with boneless hams going for as much as $139 per pound. But it's not coming any time soon. Because of the amount of time required to cure the hams, the first ones won't be arriving for more than a year - late fall of 2007 at the earliest.
Still, at least one website, www.tienda.com, is already taking deposits of $199 per ham. Owner Don Harris says about 250 customers have already reserved their hams, and one was so excited he actually flew to Spain to visit it. "Another guy said he wasn't going to set his wedding date until he can be assured he can serve his ham at the banquet," Harris says.