The Jamón Ibérico (Iberian ham) is the one that is obtained from the hind legs of the authentic iberian pigs of our peninsula but, do you know what is the difference between Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Jamón Ibérico de Cebo? Here’s our Jamón master class for you!
What makes the difference between Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Jamón Ibérico de cebo?
The hams can be classified according to three aspects: the breed of the pig from which the legs are obtained, the feed that these pigs follow and their origin.
- Breed: we can differentiate between Jamón Gran Reserva, better known as Jamón Serrano (the one obtained from white pigs) and Iberian ham (the one produced thanks to the meat of authentic Iberian pigs).
- Feed: Only Iberian pigs can be classified according to their diet, as the meat of white pigs has the same flavour regardless of how they are fed. Having said this, the Iberian ham can be of two types: Ibérico de Cebo or Ibérico de Bellota. But what is the main difference between Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Jamón Ibérico de Cebo? The diet that the pigs have followed.Iberian Pig and White Pig.
Jamón Ibérico de Cebo are those obtained from pigs fed with feed on farms. On the other hand, acorn-fed Iberian hams (jamón ibérico de bellota) are those obtained from pigs that have been free in the pastureland and have followed a diet based on acorns and other natural products such as grass.
Thus, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, in turn, can be subdivided into three types according to the purity of the pig’s breed, 50%, 75% or 100%, also known as Jamón Pata Negra.
- Origin: for a Jamón to be Iberian, its meat must come from pigs with at least one Iberian parent raised in our peninsula. In Spain there are four areas where authentic Iberian products are produced: Cáceres/Badajoz, Córdoba, Salamanca and Huelva and depending on where the legs are cured, the aromas will be one or the other. For example, in Salamanca the meat is softer than in Huelva while in Cáceres/Badajoz and Córdoba the hams are more aromatic.
Having said that, the nuances of a Jamón Ibérico de Cebo are as good as those of a Jamón Ibérico de Bellota? Of course not. The meat of Iberian pigs is unique in the world thanks to the genetic capacity of this species to infiltrate fat into the muscle and, although this gift is innate to all Iberian pigs, thanks to the diet based on acorns and the exercise they do in the pastureland, the process is enhanced and results in a juicier meat and more aroma.
You only have to try a slice of Jamón Ibérico de Cebo and a slice of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota to notice the nuances because, although both are very oily, the second one will practically melt slowly in your mouth when it comes into contact with the palate, you will experience a great sensation! And if you have never eaten Jamón and you don’t just trust yourself by the taste, don’t forget that the Jamón is protected by law and we explain everything about it in the article about the regulations, bridles and labelling of the Jamón.
So, is it true that Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is better than Jamón Ibérico de Cebo? No, they’re just different products. Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is more expensive because it costs more to produce but this does not mean that you will like it more. If you like your ham less juicy, Ibérico de Cebo is a more suitable option for you. So, now that you know, buy just what you’re looking for and let the experts in our stores advise you!
For a tasting experience at home, Enrique Tomás has everything you need! Take a look at any of these products and prepare an Iberian evening to discover what your type of Jamón is: