Now that the good weather is just around the corner comes the time to talk about Acorn-Fed Ibérico and the perfect temperature for its consumption. Neither too cold nor too warm.
Just like good wine, like caviar, or like so many extraordinary food products, FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham, be the same a Denomination of Origin Ham or a Gran Reserva, has a composition of fats that exceeds 56% in oleic acid. This is precisely the fatty acid that is found in abundance in olive oil and it not only has a positive effect on our health (subject matter that we will cover in another post), but it also plays an important role in conveying the flavours and textures that make it such a special product.
Our everyday experience already gives us a few hints: olive oil starts to solidify at a temperature below 10ºC (check for yourself by leaving a bottle of olive oil outdoors on a cold winter day), while the oleic acid’s isolated melting point stands at 16,3ºC, which combined with the other fatty acids that make up the fats of the ham start to melt at 18ºC. This means that as of a temperature of 20ºC the ham starts to drip fat and this also has an influence on its preservation.
However, what about the temperature for consumption? All the experts coincide that the perfect temperature to consume an Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham stands between 20 and 22ºC. It is at this point of solidness/melting that the fats start contributing so that the texture of the Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham will be absolutely perfect when we take a bite of it. And, indeed, this is of even more importance in the spreading-out of the flavour and retro-flavour.
The first impression in mouth of an Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham should be mellow, with just a touch of sweetness and after that first moment (while it warms up in our mouth) it starts to liberate all the hues and nuances of its intense and balanced characteristic flavour. When the temperature is lower the first feeling is rather “bland” and only when it warms up in our mouth does it start to liberate its flavours. If the ham is too warm (exceeding 22ºC) some of the aromatic molecules provided by its characteristic flavours will have already evaporated on the plate itself, or even easier to understand, these flavours will impregnate the surface on which the ham was served. And what is even worse, if it is standing at a temperature of more than 28ºC some of the molecules actually vary their structure, sort of “cooking” in their own juices, which renders flavours that are deformed and quite different to what they should be.
The retro-flavour consists in the emanation of gassy residues that come from the oils in the ham when it is in our mouth and in our throat just shortly after consuming it and this retro-flavour can last up to 10 minutes. It is exactly that great flavour that returns once and again to our mouth and that is accentuated when combined with a sip of wine or beer just a few seconds after consuming the ham. Hence the temperature of the ham is again essential to enjoy this part of the process. The fats are in great measure responsible for transporting these dissolved “essences” of the Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham’s flavours and aromas. If it is too cold when we consume it, then the fats and flavours that it conveys may not melt in our mouth, going straight to the stomach without leaving any trace of the aromas. If we consume it when it is too warm, then the plate where it has been served is where a good part of the melted oils will remain and along with the oils the essences that make the Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham an absolutely unique product.
So, as you can see neither too cold nor too warm. The temperature range for consumption of an Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham is a rather average temperature, which means that it really isn’t all that difficult to achieve the perfect temperature. Don’t be in a hurry and if it is too cool let it rest at room temperature for a little while. If it is too warm, then pop it in the fridge and a good part of its properties will be restored.
And what about a cured loin or sausage meats? Well, the exact same thing that applies to the Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham can be said for the cured loin and acorn-fed Ibérico sausage meats, at least if they are made by FISAN, because we only use the best possible cuts of the acorn-fed Ibérico pig in their composition, without any artificial process whatsoever, such as freezing, which could modify its flavour. The composition of these products in aromas and the fats that convey these is similar to that of a FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham, with the added contribution of the aromas and flavours of the ingredients that FISAN uses to macerate them, which are based on natural herbs and spices that follow an artisan recipe that dates back more than eighty years in its composition.