I am a very discerning eater as many will tell you. As you may know, my ancestors have descended from nobility where they roamed the hills on the Iberian Peninsula and flourished by foraging for their (and my) favorite foods.
To this day our feasts include rare delights and delicacies appropriate for our station in life. This is my story about my family’s life in central Spain near La Alberca.
My ancestors come from both Spain and Portugal and originated in Iberia before Ferdinand and Isabella. You see, I am the grandest of Iberian pigs and my hams deserve the top “black label” representing the nobility of my pig heritage and special diet of acorns.
My story often gets a bad rap because in most parts of the world my domesticated swine cousins prefer to wallow in mud and eat “slop!” Those hogs are so pedestrian and eat anything and everything while I am very selective with mature taste buds for only truffles and the best acorns. These food treats give my hams a nutty, oak flavor that is craved worldwide when sliced so thin you can see through it!
I alone have earned the black Iberia ham label while others of lesser status get red, green, or white ones because of the foods they have eaten. Only the best black Iberian hogs like me have black hoofs; some impostors paint their toes black to be deceptive and try to look like me!
Today it was “All Saints Day” in La Alberca and I saw a group of English speaking people visiting my relatives hanging there, drying in honor. The humans sounded like they were from Spain as they called my family “jams” but another English speaker said “No, they are ‘hams,’ not jams.”
I don’t think it bothers my family of Rosa, Adolfo, Ana, or David being called jams because we all are really “jamón” en español! Oh, how happy I was to see my family hanging from the ceiling as they have for the past three years! Next year they get their black labels and will be sold for up to 80€ per kilo! And then soon I too will begin drying after my salt bath. What an honor!
Adolfo is famous! He was the “town pig” whose great great great grandfather has been immortalized outside the town cathedral with a statue of him. Oh, how handsome he looks. The photo of me above was taken near his statue when I was relaxing in the sun.
Every generation of our family has had a “town pig” in it and I now have been chosen for that honor. I think tonight I will sleep in the Tavern because they feed me the best tasting acorns. Tomorrow I will sleep somewhere else. The mayor tells me that I will be the guest of honor later this year when a raffle takes place and someone will win… ME!
In America my distant relatives have gone rogue with their hams in those commercial “Piggly Wiggly” grocery stores. And there is even a story about three silly little piglets and a wolf blowing their houses down which doesn’t make sense to me at all since the humans in town protect me each night when I come to their door.
I have been told that humans elsewhere in the world also have been known to say their little piggies “eat roast beef” and cry “wee wee wee” all the way home. Really? No respectable Spanish Iberian pig would eat roast beef. Maybe a French pig would and say “oui oui oui” but certainly not an Iberian!
But it all doesn’t matter because I am nobility! I am the town’s black hoofed, black Iberian pig in La Alberca… where I am special!