Once you have filled your winebota with a beautiful Spanish wine, you need to indulge yourself with some ‘Ibérico Pata Negra’ (Black Hoof Iberian) ham that can only come from those pigs that are acorn fed and with a black hoof. Without a doubt the best ‘jamón’ (ham) maker in Spain is ‘Joselito’, a company based in ‘Guijuelo’, south of Salamanca and west of Madrid. To give you a better idea, chefs like Ferran Adrià, Joël Robuchon, Juan Mari Arzak and Andoni Luis Aduriz serve ‘Joselito’ ham in their restaurants. “The quality is unbeatable,” Arzak says. Rafael García Santos, the highly influential Spanish food critic, rates the ‘Joselito Gran Reserva’ at 9.75 out of a possible 10—which in his view makes it the best food product of any kind in the country.
‘Joselito’ has has earned mythic status in Spain. It’s not easy to find – only the most famous restaurants serve it. The company’s annual production is modest – hams are often reserved (and paid for) years in advance. ‘Joselito’ is one of the few ham producers that maintains its own extensive R&D program, and one of two that refuses to use any kind of preservatives, ever.
These special reserve ‘paletas de bellota’ (acorn fed pork legs) are firm and consistent. The ham just melts in your mouth. The fine, translucent fat is sparse, but the meat is evenly marbled. The aromas are spectacular and a lifetime experience. Everything else you’ve heard about Joselito ham is true!