I must confess that when I first started looking at visiting the Alpujarras, I had no idea, maybe I should correct that, I did not notice that Jamon Serrano (cured ham) was such a significant export item from the area. The obvious reasoning behind my not even taking notice of that fact is that I dont eat it… 🙂 so highley unlikely that its something that would have jumped at me while I was discovering what an amazing area this was for hiking.
So imagine my surprise when as I got closer to the villages I was travelling to, I started noticing these huge pieces of Jamones hanging in shop windows, out in the open inside some shops, but very much in what I would refer to as front of house. Pardon me for my ignorance about how these things are dried, and the merits of how it is done. And the closer you got to the higher villages, there seemed to be just more and more of it whereever you looked. So, when I arrived one morning at the breakfast room of a pension I was staying at, I was confronted by a whole array of these stands laden with Jamones, literally surrounding the table, small ones, big ones, pink ones, darker ones, wetter and drier ones, all just hanging out there with a little cup below to collect any residue that may be dripping off it. You almost had to weave your way around to get into the chair. Fortunately for me, I dont consume any ham, so having breakfast being overlooked by these huge pieces of Jamon was extremely unusual, perhaps a tad out of the ordinary, almost a little over the top for me. But, spare a thought for the poor dude having ham and eggs for breakfast, bet he was feeling a bit imtimidated, being overlooked by these huge Jamones that were probably still running around not too long ago :-(. No offence intended to those that enjoy these Jamones, this is just my perspective.
So I figured, this was significant enough to read about, and flipped through my trusty lonely planet Andalucia….and sure as nuts on page 362 under Trevelez were all the facts, neatly laid out and amongst them the one that I obviously didnt notice……So lets look at all three…Trevelez at 1495m claims to be the highest village on the mountainside, it is a frequent starting point for accents of the high Sierra Nevada – I would have noticed the first two :-), and it produces some of the countrys best Jamon serrano which is trucked in from far and wide for curing in Trevelez’s dry mountain air. See, now thats the one that would have gone right over my head like a speed read 🙂
I’ve read that the significance of the region for producing Jamones of the best quality is reinforced by the fact that it has the Royal Seal of approval, making them fit for a Queen. Once you’re aware of the facts, the whole picture comes together, throughout the region are buildings with signage noting the building is a Jamones reserve, presumably a holding area fro the already cured jamon, or perhaps just a larger space where it is cured . Once again, I must emphasise no offence intended to Jamones lovers………………………………
The journey continues………………………………………Todays images are of some of the buildings I came across, and yep! a close up of some jamones …………………..
They do love a bit of ham here! It borders on obsession. I remember when I first moved here 10 years ago. Every bar you went in, as you say, had jamones hanging from the ceiling. The most surprising thing was that, because in those days you could smoke anywhere, all the cigarette smoke (and there was a lot of it) would add to the flavour I suppose!
Hi! Welcome to my blog, perhaps they have a smoked and unsmoked version too 🙂