Joselito, paleta de bellota Gran Reserva

1900Kr (388Kr/kg)

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Black iberian (pata negra), free-range, cured for 24+ months
Diet of acorns and other wild plants
Weight: 4,7 - 5,2 kg 

By consensus, the best ham maker in Spain is Joselito, a company based at the northern, colder edge near Salamanca in Guijuelo. Both Ferran Adrià and Joel Robuchon serve Joselito ham in their restaurants. So does Juan Mari Arzak, Spain's most venerated older chef, and Andoni Luis Aduriz, the most talented younger chef in the nation, at their establishments (Arzak and Mugaritz, respectively) in the Basque Country. "The quality is unbeatable," Arzak says. Rafael García Santos, the highly influential Spanish food critic, rates the Joselito Gran Reserva at 9.75 out of a possible 10—which in his view makes it the best food product of any kind in the country.

(from "The Most Delicious Ham in the World", by Arthur Lubow)

Joselito has has earned mythic status in Spain. It's not easy to find - only the most famous restaurants serve it. The company's annual production is modest - hams are often reserved (and paid for) years in advance. Joselito is one of the few ham producers that maintains its own extensive R&D program, and one of two that refuses to use any kind of preservatives, ever.

These special reserve bellota paletas are firm and consistent. The ham just melts in your mouth. The fine, translucent fat is sparse, but the meat is evenly marbled. The aromas are spectacular.

Everything else you've heard about Joselito ham is true.

“The free ham holder and knife were a nice touch. Next time I will buy a pro holder, the free one is a tad wobbly for a big ham.”

–Brian Wilcox, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
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