TRADITIONALLY, Iberian ham comes from acorn-fed blackfoot pigs. It is an ingredient unique to the Iberian Peninsula and is deeply intertwined with Spanish culture.
Yet, two American companies have now made moves to import Iberico hogs stateside to produce their own version of the ham.
Acornseekers and Iberian Pastures, set up in Texas and Georgia respectively, have been launched by Spaniards abroad to take the delicacy to the US market.
Further fuelling outrage is Iberian Pastures’ decision to not feed the pigs acorns but instead experiment with a diet of pecans and peanuts.
According to experts, the meat’s flavour is unique and can only be achieved through the pig’s acorn based diet. It is also essential to dry cure the product for a minimum of 36 months.
This it is not the first time international relations between America and Iberia have caused outrage.
Scandal struck the ham industry in 2017 after a regulation allowed Iberico pigs to be cross bred with American Durocs.
A leading German newspaper subsequently called 90% of the exported jamon ‘a huge fraud’.
Costing as much as 4,100 euros per leg, Iberian ham is the world’s most expensive cured meat. So, the porkie pies were no laughing matter.