Iberico Ham Arturo Sánchez
With over a hundred-year-old family tradition, practices refined by each generation, and respect for the work and knowledge of ancestors, Arturo Sánchez Iberian ham stands out. But what other secrets lie behind this prized delicacy?
To make a unique product you have to live it. Without passion, you only just get a normal product.Arturo Sánchez, CEO. 3rd Generation
The Distinctive Iberian Pig Breed and Dedicated Farmers
There are several key elements behind the creation of this amazing product. Firstly, the Iberian pig breed and the farmers who tend to them. These pigs have a distinct appearance with black skin and elongated limbs. They are known for their black or black and red coats and have a genetic predisposition to store fat in their muscles. This contributes to the unique marbling and juiciness of the meat. Grazed on the best pastures in the north of Seville and in the south of Extremadura, and tended to by farmers who understand the region, they are real experts in Iberian pig breeding. hey watch sunrises and sunsets on pastures, oversee proper nutrition, and ensure the free development of animals.
Food and Age – The Secret to Exceptional Iberian Pigs
The Iberian pig holds another secret, lying in its food and age. We closely monitor the animals to ensure they eat the right food. In the industry, Arturo Sánchez is the only one who waits season after season until the 100% Iberian acorn-fed pigs reach the age of two, thus allowing them to feed on the delicacy for two ‘montaneras.’ This diet guarantees a very high quality of all products. Eating acorns imparts a subtle nutty sweetness to the meat and promotes the development of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that contributes to the ham’s juicy texture and unique aroma.
The combination of 100% Iberian purity, age (practically twice as old as usual), and a diet based on acorns during the two long “montaneras” produces exceptional meat quality and infiltrated fat. This ensures full muscle and bone development, along with the infiltration of heart-healthy fat, surpassing only by olive oil in its oleic acid content.
Traditional Production Methods: A Meticulous Process
The meticulous and time-honored process of making Iberico ham relies heavily on traditional production methods, which have been passed down through generations. After slaughtering the pigs, the hams undergo a lengthy curing process. It lasts from several months to several years, depending on the desired quality and flavor. Each product is meticulously hung by hand, with careful spacing to avoid overlap. It allows the wind to heal them from all four sides.
The progression of each piece is observed individually, and if necessary, they are moved to another cellar during both winter and summer. Reading nature’s cues, such as wind direction, temperature, and humidity, becomes crucial. The regulation of product curing is done manually by opening and closing the windows as needed. Throughout this time, the hams undergo controlled drying, salting, and maturation under strictly controlled conditions.
The art of carving a master
The art of carving the ham is crucial to fully enjoy its unique properties. Carving Iberian ham has become an art and a ritual. The master of the knife who skillfully cuts the ham provides experienced tasters with extraordinary taste sensations. Skilled carvers use their experience to slice the ham into thin pieces. Each delicate slice melts in your mouth, releasing complex flavors. The perfect balance of fat and lean meat is a testament to the craftsmanship of the carving process. From Arturo Sánchez they tell us how to cut an Iberian ham step by step from the moment the ham arrives at home (see step by step).
Time as an Ally – Respect and Legacy
Time is an ally in the making of Arturo Sánchez products. It is not only about the unique taste but also about the respect shown throughout the entire process. Time counts both in the rearing of pigs and in the maturing of ham. The Sánchez family is now in its 4th generation, continuing the legacy of their ancestors.
There are no hard and fast rules; we just observe every detail. That’s why we’re not industrialists: we’re artisans of Iberian ham. We develop, one by one, our gastronomy jewels.
Iberico ham is a perfect example of the importance of animal husbandry in shaping the taste of a product. Thanks to its noble processing and unique taste, it represents the living essence of the culinary heritage of the Iberian Peninsula.