Ham Right! Best of Spain Finally Coming to U.S.

The Chicago Tribune


December 27, 2005

"How I got busted - for harboring ham."
Monica Eng, Tribune Staff reporter

On my way back from Madrid last spring, I was caught red-handed with half a kilo of Spain's finest ham in my bag.

The trauma inspired me to whine about tits confiscation and investigate the Byzantine food regulations enforced by the Department of Homeland Security at our nation's airports - specifically when it came to acorn-fed Spanish swine.

In the course of my research I discovered that La Tienda, an American importer of Spanish food, was in the process of trying to relieve my hamless misery. The company was working to get the first Spanish slaughterhouse certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, thus legalizing the importation of certain acorn-fed ham called jamon Iberico de bellota. In September the importer was victorious. Woohoo!

This means that every pig that is "sacrificed" (La Tienda's word) at this newly certified facility in southern Spain will be approved for export to the U.S. But these products take a while to cure and in the near future (early 2006) only Spanish chorizo sausage and cured loin called lomo will be available. Sometime between 2007 and 2008, however, folks will reportedly be able to purchase a whole leg of the prized buttery and nutty Iberico ham for delivery in the U.S.

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