Ibérico Showcase

When the Montanera period ends, the artisan/natural elaboration of DON IBÉRICO hams begins. Each piece is individually identified to guarantee traceability as of its origin.

This lengthy, completely natural process, without applying any procedures aside from those consecrated by tradition and experience, implies a wait of 36 months before the possibility of tasting a DON IBÉRICO ham becomes real.
1

Salting

The hams are rigorously sorted one by one on the basis of their weight for their later salting process, thus allowing for the stabilization of its enzymes and the perfect preservation of the piece. The hams are piled up and covered with salt. This is a fundamental phase for the development of its particularly characteristic colour and scent.
2

Settling

The hams spend the winter in natural driers having windows through which a ray of light - never intense, rather semi-darkness - penetrates, and having an adjustable opening (opened/closed daily) which allows for controlling ventilation as well as ideal conditions of humidity and temperature. During these months, the soft and cold winds of the sierra help the pieces to reach a perfect equilibrium with an optimal degree of maturing.
3

Drying and maturing

Winter slips away and springtime arrives, moment at which the pieces progressively become accustomed to the change of temperature to be brought by summer. This phase is key for the development of the characteristic properties of a DON IBÉRICO ham.
Coinciding with the high temperatures, the pieces are gradually dehydrated - a process known as the "sweating" of the ham - which favours a uniform distribution of the fats throughout the muscle tissue. During these months, the DON IBÉRICO ham begins to acquire its characteristic and singular flavour and scent.
4

Ageing in the cellar

Once the pieces are sorted by weight and the shape of their fat, the hams are moved to the cellars where they will continue to mature and remain there as long as necessary depending on the weight of each piece, though never less than 24 months.
In deep and silent cellars, with little light, humidity and temperature are kept constant (between 60-80% and 10-14ºC, respectively).
At the end of this phase, a rigorous selection, the "calado", is done. This is a technique for verifying the ham's sensory characteristics by which three incisions are done at one of the ham's joints using a "cala" (fine, sharp needle) made of bone. When removing the "cala" from a DON IBÉRICO ham, the ham gives off a pleasant and fragrant, intense and penetrating scent.
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