Jamones Eiriz: A Traditional Jamon Tour
A visit to Jamones Eiriz was the initial motivation behind planning our trip north into Extremadura. Jamon, a traditional cured ham, is very much a staple food here in Spain. Breakfasts almost always consist of toast, olive oil, tomatoes, and jamon. Charlotte, our self-professed meat lover, got onboard the jamon train quickly, and then fell off after eating some subpar grocery story variety. We were hopeful to get her back on track by putting some good quality stuff in front of her. Because, what’s cooler than leaving a place with a good taste for its food.
Jamones Eiriz is a traditional farm that raises purebred Iberian pigs and produces high-quality jamon. We took a two-and-a-half-hour tour, which took us from pig breeding through processing and tasting. After talking to friends who had also enjoyed the tour with preschoolers, we were most excited for a hike into the biosphere reserve to spot the Iberian pigs in their natural, free range environment. We were prepped for a 45-minute hike to spot 8-10 piglets, however, after feeding the group right by the gate, it decided to rain and we spent the outside portion of the tour in a garage.
The next portion of the tour was through the ham processing plant and factory. We watched workers package pork tenderloin for lomo sausage, let the salt run through our little fingers, and saw the jamon in various stages of its years long drying process.
Finally, we enjoyed a tasting of three different jamones, paired with either peach juice or local wines from Huelva. Charlotte ate more jamon than anyone else in the group, but I’m not sure she picked up on the fact that the meat tasted noticeably different, depending on the muscle it was cut from. Or that the more acorns the pig ate, the better it tasted. But for us adults, we left with more of an understanding of something so important to the heritage of our host nation. A little bit of something for everyone, which is all we can ask for.