When we talk about Pata negra we are not talking about a simple sausage, we are talking about a cut of ham with a taste and a decidedly extraordinary value. The pata negra is an Iberian jamon from prized pork bred in Spain: in fact the Iberian peninsula has a very long and very ancient tradition of pork meat and pork processing.
When we talk about Pata negra we are not talking about a simple sausage, we are talking about a cut of ham with a taste and a decidedly extraordinary value. The pata negra is an Iberian jamon from prized pork bred in Spain. The Iberian peninsula, in fact, has a very long and very ancient tradition of pork meat and pork processing. If we talk about pata negra we talk about Iberian pigs of the Bellotta breed bred in the wild and whose feeding is composed mainly of acorns and cereals, yes you got it right, we said acorns. The sum of the pure breed of Iberian pig, genuine food and processing of the product according to very specific canons gives only one result: a delicate ham and at the same time savory at the right point, a real experience of the palate.
Pata Negra: what it is, characteristics and production areas
What is it
Pata Negra is a particular type of ham also known as Jamon Iberico de Bellota: a very fine cut deriving from Iberian pigs. The pigs are bred in the wild in wooded areas unsuitable for cultivation but in which oaks abound and feed the animals with their acorns. We are talking about jamon iberico only if the pigs are Iberian for at least 50% of their genetic patrimony and when choosing to buy Pata negra you need to pay attention to the details: the real pata negra is characterized by the black nail of the pig, while not all Iberian pigs necessarily have this characteristic. The pigs with black mantle and black nails also have another characteristic that differentiates them from the "white" pigs and it is the most tapered form of the front legs and above all of the back legs. All these features make it a product of excellence and its price can even reach 200 euros per kilo.
Production and processing areas
Pata Negra ham is produced in different areas of Spain and each production area is characterized by some differences. The Pata Negra produced in the areas around Cordoba and near the Sierra Morena has a sweeter, less salty and less fibrous taste. If you buy a Pata Negra from the Extremadura you will find it delicate and with a strong scent and aroma that resembles that of the acorns but, if you look for the best Pata negra, you will have to choose the one produced in Andalusia, in a small town called Jabugo where the animals are all 100% Iberian, bred in the wild and where the processing can last up to 5 years! The seasoning and processing of meat reflects a choice that has nothing to do with intensive production: the legs are covered with strictly Andalusian salt, then washed and left to dry before being seasoned in bodegas for a period ranging from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of three years.
Features and labeling
The sweetness and at the same time the strong flavor of the Pata negra derives in large part from the oleic acid present in the acorns that are the basis of the feeding of the pigs. Oleic acid is also very present in olives and it is considered a "good fat": through the acorns the acid enters the body of these pigs with thin legs and insinuates itself into the muscle making it more fat and soft. We have said that the production of Pata Negra changes according to the breed of the pig and its feeding; this difference is reported in the different labels: don't be fooled, only the black label is the symbol of an Iberian black pig bred only with acorns, that is the original and unrivaled Pata Negra!