Many things about My Little Spanish Place fascinate me and one of them is their jamon (Spanish ham) bar. Jamon is one of Spain's proudest food icons.
My Little Spanish Place offers five different grades of jamon - the widest range available in Singapore, from the good to the extra-ordinary. Owner-chef Maria Sevillano kindly granted me a crash course in jamon appreciation by showing me the different types of jamon at My Little Spanish Place.
Chef Maria hand carving ham, which is a highly revered artisanal skill that demands precision acquired only through lots of practice and experience.
Chef Maria started me off with Jamon Serrano (from Salamanca province). This ham is made with the leg of compound fed, pen raised white pigs air cured for 12 to 18 months.
Jamon Serrano is savoury,
Next is Jamón Ibérico de Cebo. Ibérico ham can be from pure breed black Iberian or cross bred black-white pigs, pen raised and fed a combination of cereal and grain. The ham is aged 16 to 24 months.
My Little Spanish Place's Jamón Ibérico Cebo is from Spain's Salamanca province. Jamón Ibérico Cebo's savoury taste is distinctly more layered, richer and the ham has a creamier moist texture than Jamon Serrano.
Now comes the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota which is the highest level of Spanish ham. Bellota is Spanish for acorn (the oily seed from the Spanish Encino oak) and these pure breed black pigs are acorn fed.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota has a thick layer of fat saturated with oleic acid from acorn. The Iberian black pig's fat is so much like olives which are also rich in oleic acid that the pigs are often called "olives with legs".
My Little Spanish Place serves three varieties of this acorn fattened black pigs, starting with Jamón Ibérico de Bellota "10 Vetas" from Huelva province.
This ham is from free range black pigs that roam oak forests and fed only acorns. The exercise and diet result in deeply flavourful, smooth, well marbled meat. The ham is cured for 18 to 36 months.
On the subject of legs, these black pigs are called "pata negra" or black hooves in Spanish, for self evident reasons.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota "5J" also from Huelva province. Pure breed Iberian black pigs, free ranging and fed on acorns. Seasoned with sea salt and cured for 36 months. Delicate savoury sweet flavours in well marbled, ruby hued meat.
Just look at that thick layer of fat where so much of the jamon's addictive flavours are dissolved inside :-D
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota "Joselito".
Saving the extraordinary for last.
Free ranging, pure breed Iberian black pigs fed only acorns. The sea salted leg ham is cured for 5 years. Considered the crème de la crème of jamon.
Surprisingly for cured meat, "Joselito" ham tastes delightfully refreshing and savoury sweet with a slight smokiness in it's rich flavour. The soft thin slivers of marbled ham dissolve slowly from the warmth on our tongue and release it's exquisite flavours.
The first taste of "Joselito" is memorable like the first kiss.
It leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth and in our memories.
Try once and you will long for the pleasure of "Joselito" ever after.
Fortunately, we don't have to fly to Spain every time we crave for "Joselito" or Jamón Ibérico de Bellota.
I am glad that the best of Spainish jamon is available right here now in Singapore at My Little Spanish Place.
Click on photo ^
Click on photo above for other Spanish delights at My Little Spanish Place.
Restaurant name: My Little Spanish Place (at Boat Quay)
Address: 54 Boat Quay, Singapore 049843
GPS: 1.287360, 103.849428
Hours: 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm | 5:00 pm to 12:00 midnight (Closed on Sunday)
Tel: 6532 0665
Date visited: 15 Oct 2015, 5 Nov 2015
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