Cinco Jotas Jamón Ibérico

Jamón Ibérico

This is what happens with a dangerously sharp knife meets a huge hunk of Spanish jamon. Paper thin slices of salty, fatty deliciousness.

The master carver at work here is part of a team from Spain's Cinco Jotas, a company famed for its pure breed Ibérico pigs. They were in town a few weeks ago to hold a press tasting at Despana, a colorful sandwich shop on Broome St. that sells everything from handmade chorizo to Spanish cookbooks, and I was lucky enough to sit front row as the cutting action began.

 The master carver in action

The master carver in action

So what makes this jamon better than, say, prosciutto or (not that it can really compare) good ol' American ham?

Experts could probably go on and on about how each pig roams freely across two acres of land and dines on three varieties of acorns, but I think the Cinco Jotas rep summed it up best: "They're happy pigs."