Ham is one of Spain’s most prized gastronomic products. However, not all hams are the same, as there are different types and qualities. Two of the most famous types of jamon are Iberian Bellota ham and Iberian Cebo ham. Although both are delicious, they have important differences that are worth knowing. In this article, we will explain the differences between Iberian Bellota ham and Iberian cebo ham.
Table of contents
What is Iberian ham?
Before we go into detail on the differences between Iberian Bellota ham and cebo ham, it is important to understand what Iberian ham is in general. Iberian ham is a product derived from the Iberian pig, a breed native to the Iberian Peninsula. This breed is characterised by a specific diet that includes acorns and other fruits of the forest, which results in a unique flavour and texture. In addition, Iberian pigs are free-range and have more space to move around than conventional pigs.
Differences between Iberian Bellota ham and Cebo ham
Although both the Iberian Bellota ham and the fattened Iberian ham come from the Iberian pig, there are notable differences between the two types. Below, we will see what these differences are.
The main difference between Iberian Bellota ham and cebo ham is the feed. The former feeds on acorns and other fruits of the forest during the montanera period, which runs from October to February. During this period, the Iberian pigs move around the dehesas in search of food. This means that their meat is rich in oleic acid and has a unique flavour and texture.
The jamon iberico de cebo, on the other hand, is fed on feed and other foods throughout its life. This makes its flavour and texture different from those of Iberian Bellota ham.
Another important difference between the two types of jamon is the quality of the meat. Iberian Bellota ham has a juicier meat with a more intense flavour thanks to the natural feeding of the pigs during the montanera period. In addition, Iberian Bellota ham has more fat infiltration in the meat, which gives it a smoother and more unctuous texture.
On the other hand, the fat infiltration in the meat is less, and the flavour is less intense. Although it is still a high quality ham, it does not have the same exquisiteness as Iberian Bellota ham.
The price is another important difference between the two types of jamon. Iberian Bellota ham is more expensive than Iberian Bellota ham due to its higher quality and the difficulty of its production. Because of their natural diet and the fact that they are free-range, Iberian pigs need more space and time to grow.
In addition, during the “montanera” season, a greater effort is required to gather acorns and other fruits of the forest that the Iberian pigs need to feed themselves. All this makes the price of Iberian Bellota ham higher than that of cebo ham.
Which is better?
The choice between the Iberian Bellota ham and the fattened ham will depend on the taste of each person and the budget they have to buy it. Both types of ham are delicious and of high quality, but Iberian Bellota ham has a more intense flavour and texture and is of superior quality. However, it is also more expensive.
In conclusion, Iberian ham is one of the most appreciated gastronomic products in Spain and there are different types of ham, among which the Iberian Bellota ham and the Iberian Cebo ham stand out. The main difference between the two types lies in the feed, the quality of the meat and the price. Although Iberian Bellota ham is considered to be of higher quality and has a more intense flavour, Iberian Bellota ham is also of high quality and more accessible to most consumers.
Frequently asked questions
- What does “montanera” mean? The “montanera” is the time of the year when the Iberian pigs feed on acorns and other fruits of the forest.
- Why is Iberian Bellota ham more expensive? Iberian Bellota ham is more expensive due to the quality of the meat and the difficulty of its production, as it requires a natural diet and adequate space for the pigs to develop.
- What is the difference in flavour between Iberian Bellota ham and the cebo ham? Iberian Bellota ham has a more intense flavour and a smoother and creamier texture due to the natural feeding of the pigs during the fattening period.
- What is fat infiltration? Fat infiltration refers to the amount of fat found in the meat of the ham. Iberian Bellota ham has a higher fat infiltration than cebo ham, which gives it a smoother and more unctuous texture.
- How should Iberian ham be consumed? Iberian ham is best eaten thinly sliced at room temperature to enjoy all its flavour and aroma.