I love ham. I love food, and I love meat as a subsection of food, but I have a particular and enduring love for decent quality ham.
I've eaten a fair bit of ham, of a fair few kinds, over the years. However, this Christmas I was given the greatest gift of all- a whole 5J Iberico ham from hamazing.com.
This is a ham I have never thought to buy for myself. The kind of thing I dream of while eating my still-nice-but-more-affordable serrano ham. However, this Christmas this thing of utter beauty arrived and my dreams came true.
The kids were super excited as well. They knew this was something special.
Mainly they knew this because I have been obsessively banging on about how amazing it is going to be since it arrived.
It's been in its wrapper waiting for a special occasion since Christmas, but this weekend our neighbour, James, got back from 3 months travelling around China and so we cracked it open.
This ham has been calling to me in the night, but I have resisted, waiting for the time to come when my wife would allow me to open it up. She will never understand my relationship with fine quality meat products. This is something special and wonderful. It transcends enthusiasm. The bond between a man and his top-class cured pig's leg is something which the English language is not equipped to adequately describe.
This pig's leg is no ordinary pig's leg. OH GOD NO. This is the James Bond of pig's legs. This is the Beethoven of porcine locomotion. This is the Leonardo Da Vinci of ungulate motility.
To quote from hamazing's site:
"Supreme quality is a synonym of Cinco Jotas; each of the hams produced at SRC are tenderly cared for and scrutinised by a maestro jamonero, or master ham craftsman, for 3 long years"
Just reading this made me realise I have missed my true calling in life. Oh to wake up every morning in the knowledge that I was a Master Ham Craftsman! What a wonderful life that must be, caring for hams, scrutinising the delicious meaty pig bits as they transform from raw pork to glorious symphony of edible perfection, like a caterpillar becoming a beautiful, delicious meat butterfly.
Only the very best of these Iberico hams are chosen for the 5J grade, the others being classed as Noblanza. This is a thing of very special joy.
The pure bred Iberico pig whose limb I am about to devour ran free through the cork oak forest, eating acorns and wild herbs. You can really taste this in its succulent, melt-in-the-mouth flesh and delicious soft fat. It led a life of joy, running and snuffling around for food, full of happiness and piggy wonder at its beautiful forest world. Then a master ham craftsmen spent 3 long years transforming its legs in to the culinary equivalent of Ella Fitzgerald's voice.
So I finally tasted it, and it was UNBELIEVABLE! ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE!
I have got loads of it in the kitchen. Absolutely loads. Christ knows how I'm going to eat anything else with it sitting there calling to me. Christ knows how I am going to DO anything else with it sitting there calling to me.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ANYTHING EXCEPT EAT THE HAM?
HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO LIVE YOUR LIFE WHEN THERE IS HAM?
Utterly amazingly, it is even good for you! Have a look!
In summary, I really like this ham.