Lately it feels more and more often speak of "Pata Negra" and "apparently" it is almost famous everywhere; but, if we tell you that even in Spain, his country of origin, this prized ham is very rare (only 5% of the total ham products), then you understand immediately why we used the word "apparently".
Pata Negra The name means "black paw" and refers precisely to a particular breed of pigs dark living in Extremadura, in the south-west of Spain and have a characteristic black fingernail. These precious pigs risked disappearing because of their low yield commercial, but the tenacity of some breeders and Spanish producers saved them and now form a race "reference" for anyone involved in the area of quality prosciutto.
The cerdo ibérico Pata Negra 100% ibérico is bred in huge natural areas characterized by huge expanses of oak. The rich supply available port this pig to reach in about 16 months, the weight of nearly 170 lbs. However, only the pigs that are fed exclusively on acorns during the months preceding the slaughter may, by law, be classified under the term "de Bellota" (ie "acorn").
The feeding of acorn then characterizes the hams for a considerable amount of intramuscular fat. This type of fat formed that acorns and then transformed during the long maturation period, which for these hams almost always exceeds three years, belongs to the category of monounsaturated fats, the same type of fat found in olive oil. Beyond this health aspect, the fat of Pata Negra 100% ibérico de Bellota ham gives this truly unique aromas and flavors that are enhanced "melting" in the mouth and gorgeous gourmets for their long persistence.
But even before we get to our palate, the Pata Negra 100% ibérico de Bellota is very different from our hams: after an initial phase of salting and stop for a few days in cold, continues its long ripening completely warm, in environments with low humidity and a temperature of about 30 degrees. In this way also the weight loss is considerable and the end of the process will not be that half of the initial weight.
All this has an impact on the price necessarily, in fact, the Pata Negra de Bellota costs about four times our finest hams, but the excitement of a taste certainly repays the sacrifice money.
A recent Spanish Royal Decree established names and labeling of the various types of Pata Negra.