Ham For The Holidays

By Alexandra Brown

Along with the holiday season comes luxury and indulgence, and I’m not just talking about the gifts. The festive feast on every home’s table is one of the glitziest ways to experience grandeur.

While the average household showcases a ham to serve as the centerpiece of their holiday spread, those looking for an unexpected twist on a traditional dish may want to consider a rare meat known for its rich, savory taste: Iberico Ham.

The prized Iberico ham is imported from Spain and made from the black Iberian pig, which eats mainly acorns and is aged for two to three years.  Also known as the Pata Negra or Black Pig, the ham is considered one of the world’s most expensive meats, often sold for upwards of $100 per pound. Iberico ham was first made available to Chicago in 2008 and since has become a staple at a few local restaurants and specialty grocery stores.

Mouth watering but the price too steep to give it a try? Then join me and some budget-conscious foodies for a free tasting event this Sunday, December 2, at two different grocery stores in Chicago and the surrounding area:

  • Fox & Obel, 401 East Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60611, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Marion Street Cheese Market,  100 S. Marion Street, Oak Park, IL 60302, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Take your taste buds on a global journey as you sample this exceptional treat and join Iberico ham expert Pilar Esteban-Ordorica, who is flying to Chicago from Spain, to learn about the fine art in ham slicing and presentation.

So as we prepare to ring in the New Year,  let’s raise a toothpick to tasting and get this Pata Negra started!

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