FISAN Gran Reserva 2009, Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham 2010, Recebo Ibérico Ham 2010 and Cebo de Campo Ibérico Ham 2010
On the past Thursday, November 28th, a Horizontal Tasting Session of FISAN’s Hams took place in Madrid, with the goal of the same aimed at making the different varieties of FISAN Ham that are on the market known among the press and guests that were present at the event. This was a unique and unusual event and thanks to our blog we can now put all the information we have available about it at the disposal of all lovers of Ibérico Ham.
First of all we would like to start with an explanation of the “whys” behind the different varieties. As you may know the Ibérico pig we use at FISAN to make our hams and sausage meats is raised under free-range fashion, independently of its diet. Hence, the fat correctly infiltrates into the muscle tissue and the meat acquires the characteristic flavour and texture that have made Ibérico Ham a product that is worthy of admiration right around the globe. This is also the reason why at FISAN we never sell any (cebo) ham variety that has been raised in penned quarters (on the farm) and our varieties are distinguished by the type of diet that the animals follow:
1. FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham and FISAN GRAN RESERVA Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham is produced from animals that have reached their final weight thanks to the fact that they consume humungous amounts of acorns during the free-range period (logically when the acorns are ripe and ready for harvesting). Hence, during their stay in the meadowlands they take advantage of all the acorns that have dropped from the Holm Oaks, thus completing their spectacular development. They also consume grass and other grassland plants that are to be found in nature. During this period they are not fed any type of animal feed.
2. FISAN Recebo Ibérico Ham is obtained from animals that despite having enjoyed the free-ranging period in the meadowlands under similar conditions as the acorn-fed pigs and likewise counting with an important amount of acorns that have dropped from the Holm Oaks in their diet, they do actually reach their final weight with a complementary contribution of animal feed, always obtained from vegetable plants, leguminosae and cereals, all 100% natural.
3. The FISAN Cebo de Campo Ibérico Ham, which is reared in freedom, pasturing in the meadowlands, has not actually been fattened in its last stages with acorns. Its diet until it reaches its final weight is basically made up by the grass and grassland plants that are available in nature, along with animal feed that is of a 100% natural origin, constituting a complementary contribution of nutrients until they reach their full adult size.
Now we would like to describe the difference between a FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham and the FISAN GRAN RESERVA Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham: When the acorn-fed Ibérico pigs reach our facilities, following the free-ranging period in the meadowlands of Andalusia and Extremadura, they are inspected one by one in order to determine which of them has a unique morphology and distribution of fat that will allow us to forecast, thanks to our experience of almost one hundred years, which of the specimens will develop its flavour throughout the extended curing period of four years (at least 48 months) and which of them will develop the organoleptic values to perfection in “just” three years of curing in our cellars. The latter ones correspond to the FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham category, while the first are destined to become FISAN GRAN RESERVA Acorn-Fed Ibérico Hams and these will be marketed under this denomination at least four years after the entire curing process has started.
And now you might wonder, how are these differences reflected in the FISAN Ibérico Ham? First of all and logically in its external appearance, then in the consistency of its fat and meat and finally in its different organoleptic properties. Here below you will find a PDF attachment with a series of ham tasting notes that cover all these matters. At the beginning of the note we explain which are the main characteristics that you should expect in each category, and then there are a series of spaces where you can take note of your own observations as you try all of the categories.