It is as common to see a report on gourmet products illustrated by a picture of Iberian ham as it is to come across a delicatessen event with a contest of ham cutters. But… what about the other Iberian pork products? Can they also be classified as gourmet? Is the association between gourmet and traditional craftsmanship true? And what does the foodie think about the Iberian world?
The term gourmet comes from the French, which is not surprising since French cuisine is considered the most influential gastronomy in the world. The word gourmet is derived from “gout”, meaning taste or flavour in French, and can be used to describe a food or drink, a particular dish, or a person with exquisite tastes who appreciates good food. The quality of the ingredients in a dish or of the product itself, and not the price, is what defines it as gourmet. Gourmet can include anything from a dish in a Michelin-starred restaurant to an orange.
The time when delicatessen products were confined to just Christmas and the term gourmet was applied merely to wines, is a thing of the past. Nowadays, in addition to specialised shops, gourmet products occupy entire displays in large supermarkets, often having a specific area dedicated to them. Just like the passion for cuisine from other places, the interest in gourmet products is growing. The famous Salón Gourmets fair in Madrid increases its space each year with a wider range of select foods.
The close relationship between gourmet and traditional craftsmanship
Most traditionally crafted products are also considered to be gourmet products. In the world of Iberian cuisine, gourmet and traditionally crafted go hand in hand: salchichon, chorizo, lomo, coppa… the cured meats from Joselito are carefully prepared, following the traditionally crafted method based on a tradition inherited from six generations dedicated to the craft who have a blind confidence in their product, an essential characteristic of the craftsman and woman. The commitment to heritage and the product is demonstrated with the utmost respect for all its organoleptic properties. Joselito achieves this with a meat that contains no additives or preservatives, cuts that must be treated with great care in terms of preservation conditions, since they boast a 100% natural label.
Gourmet or not, in Spain we are very accustomed to seeing chorizos and salchichones hanging from the ceiling while curing. In the old days, in every house that could afford it, a pig would be reared and the cured meats were the primary source of sustenance for the family throughout the year. After time we began to realize that the native pig, with its different varieties, was special and different from the white pig. It turned out that the Iberian pig, which was free-ranging and acorn-fed, was distinguished by its fat, flavour and other properties that made it particularly valuable and that, together with the craftsmanship required for its cured meats, produced a delicious result. In Spain we are familiar with these dark pigs with droopy ears and their charcuterie, but communicating this to the rest of the world is no easy task.
The culture of Iberian cured meat seen from the outside
Any gourmet product that arrives in a region where it is unknown needs a period of time for it to become known, to explain where it comes from, its history, its added value and, ultimately, what makes it so special. In terms of Iberian pork products, this means raising awareness that the Iberian pig is no ordinary pig, it is an extraordinary pig and, if you respect its way of life, allowing it to roam free, and care about the quality of the product, it will become a first class gourmet food.
Not only ham, which is undoubtedly the leading pork product, but also the other cured sausages… and the meat, can qualify as being gourmet. The cuts of meat from the Iberian acorn-fed pig, as well as those from another well-known breed in the gourmet world, Wagyu cattle (of Japanese origin), are renowned for originating from animals with a good quality of life, where the producers are concerned about their natural habitat and the sustainable development of their productive system.
Meat from Joselito Iberian pigs: Joselito Nude is seasonal meat, determined by the fattening season, the period in which the pigs can eat acorns, and is therefore only freshly available during the months in which this crop is produced. Joselito Nude delights the gourmet palates, with sybaritic and lavish tastes, as well as those of foodies, which are less associated with high prices but are insatiable seekers of quality produce and, in general, those of the consumer, whatever you call him or her, who enjoys good food.