The degree of purity of the hog's breed depends, obviously, on the breed purity of its parents. Therefore, we can consider as an Iberian pig any one that exceeds 50% of breed purity. For this to be so, we need the mother to be 100% pure breed. In the case of a PATA NEGRA hog, it must have 100% genetic purity of the Iberian breed, which means that both its parents must also be 100% Iberian pure, not only the mother.
Feeding is a key issue; what pigs eat affects greatly the final taste of the ham. The most beloved ham shoulder is the PATA NEGRA ham shoulder, which comes from 100% pure Iberian pigs fed on acorns. The whole process of producing Pata Negra ham shoulder is exactly the same as that of an Iberian acorn fed ham (Iberico Bellota) whose main difference is based upon the purity of the Iberian pig breed. An Iberian acorn-fed ham shoulder comes from a pig of at least 50% of Iberian breed, whereas in the case of the PATA NEGRA, the hog must be of 100% Iberian race.
We call origin to the location where the ham or ham shoulder were produced. Their flavour nuances and characteristics are to be found in the production process of each geographic area. For this reason, in Enrique Tomas we are pioneers in explaining and classifying the hams and ham shoulders by place of origin, so that you may find easily the ham flavour that suits you best. In Enrique Tomas, we classify them according to the four most relevant production areas:
Of gentle pleasant flavour (it bears the yellow “G” letter in our product catalogue. You are maybe more familiar with the terms “Designation of origin” (Guijuelo, etc.), yet not all the ham shoulders produced within this region are under this designation.
The ham shoulder from this origin has a strong lasting taste (it bears the red “J” letter in our product catalogue). In this case, the Designation of Origin mostly known is “Jabugo”.
The ham shoulder from this origin is aromatic and strong (it bears the blue “E” letter in our product catalogue). The Designation of origin “Dehesa” of Extremadura refers to the forests where the tree components are holm and cork oaks and are basically located in the region of Cáceres and Badajoz.
The ham shoulder from this origin is savoury tasty and intense (it bears the orange “P” letter). The Designation of Origin Pedroches is the newest one and refers to a group of locations in the Valley of Los Pedroches (North of Córdoba).
The difference among all the origins can basically be explained by factors like the climate, the humidity and the local methodology employed in the dry-curing process.
The purity of the iberico pig breed relies obviously in the purity of the parents. It is considered Iberian (Iberico) pig when it exceeds the 50% of iberico pure breed. For this, the mother must be 100 % of iberico pure breed. Therefore, for a pig to be considered 100% iberico pure breed, its parents must be both 100% iberico pure breed as well.