The most authentic Spanish charcuterie board
Spanish charcuterie is considered the best in the world because of the country's very long tradition in curing and aging pig meat. You just need to visit a food market in the main cities such as Madrid or Barcelona to understand how important cured meats are in Spanish culture. They produce a full range of products from ham to sausages, using a lot of spices such as for the chorizo and the salchichon.
Longino has chosen Blázquez as the partner producing the best Spanish hams for your charcuterie board. A charcuterie board is the perfect element for an Italian aperitivo or as a starter for any lunch and dinner with friends and family. These boards are filled with delicious appetizers and snacks and they are visually very appealing, because of the beautiful way the food items are arranged and displayed on the board. Cured meats are quick and easy to put together, and no cooking required, unless you want to make some croutons or bruschetta. Spanish hams are great for parties and get-togethers, because of how delicious the food is you will surprise your guest and become a true expert of charcuterie board nights.
The Blázquez family, the true experts of Spanish pigs
On the surroundings of Salamanca, the Blázquez family founded the ham company in 1932, based on the artisan knowledge of that time: still today it is a family-run business with almost 90 years of tradition in producing one of the most iconic Iberian excellences, namely pata negra Jamon Iberico. Controlled genetics, selection criteria based on teachings passed down from generation to generation, and a self-produced diet are the secrets still guarded by the third generation: from the year of its founding to today Jamones Blázquez remains faithful to its natural and traditional processes.
The hams are cured using artisanal methods. The process involves an initial trimming before subjecting the hams to salting. A layered pyramid of hams and whole sea salt is made. To ensure that all meats receive a homogeneous brine, Blázquez employees change the position of the hams in the workshops daily. The hams will lose their first moisture inside the secaderos - humidity and temperature controlled cold rooms - for about three weeks. In Spring, the hams are transferred to the natural secaderos: very large rooms where the jamones will spend all summer and lose most of their weight, drying out. In the fall, the hams are taken to the cellar where they will complete the aging process: a very slow curing process that will bring them to gastronomic excellence.
Different types of Jamón Ibérico
Jamon Iberico is made from the leg of a very special Spanish pig. Iberian bellota ham comes from pigs that have been fed exclusively on acorns (bellotas in Spanish) and natural grasses and raised in pastures, in semi-freedom, grazing in fields and exercising like wild animals. Acorns are a highly energetic fruit and contain a large amount of oleic acid. This way of feeding the animals makes for the best Iberian hams.
Another type of pig is the Cebo. Cebo pigs are part of the Iberian breed, but they are raised on feed made from grains, legumes or grasses. Although the Cebo is not a free-range pig, these are still animals that enjoy to move in the field, a condition that helps producing the golden fat that melts in the mouth during the tasting.
Other types of Spanish cured meats are the Lomo, the Salchichon, the Morcon and the Longaniza. Lomo is pork tenderloin sprinkled with salt, paprika and other spices: it is then stuffed into natural casings and left to mature three or four months in special drying rooms. The salsichón is the one most similar to the traditional Italian salami, not having paprika among its ingredients. Morcon is made from a mix of meat and fat, garnished with sweet paprika, it contains all the typical flavors of Spain: deep red in color and with an inebriating aroma. Longaniza is a long Iberian sausage that is very common in central Spain: it is characterized by a fine, highly spiced grain. Fresh pork meat and fat are used together with a combination of spices in which ground paprika, vinegar, salt, cumin, black pepper and garlic are included.
What to pair with Spanish jamon
There are endless ways to create a perfect charcuterie board, from cheese, cured meat, olives, nuts, vegetables, fruits, dips, spreads, cheese and crackers or bread. Create your charcuterie board according to the occasion and to your liking allows you to be creative. The main two food items for a Spanish charcuterie board will be Spanish cured meats and cheeses. Don't forget to add some Spanish sangria and a Spanish wine for an authentic food experience.