Hispania is the Latin name for the Iberian peninsula.  It means ‘rabbit.”  There were a lot of rabbits when the Romans arrived.  We should change the name to whatever the Latin is for pig (I looked it up- one site said it’s porcus, so can you imagine saying “The Porcus Peninsual?”).  There is a lot of it here- hams I mean.  Don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself.

Museo del jamon, a chain of ham shops

There are huge displays, bigger than this one, in the larger grocery stores in Spain.  There are similar displays of chorizo, but let’s wait to talk about that.

It’s consumed mostly on bocadillo, which are sandwiches made with a baguette (called ‘barras’).   I prefer it alone or with a little bit of bread and a glass of red.  Wow!

There are other ways of using this ham, though I have never tried any of these dishes:  http://www.lopezortega.com/files/recipes.php

Jamon serrano, jamon iberico, Italian pruscuitto  it’s all made in the same basic manner: salted, rinsed and then aged.  Aside from aging hams in this manner, the Spanish also do a foreleg.  Jamon iberico is more expensive.  The pigs are free range and eat acorns both in the fields and during their last few weeks.

The Italians and the French also produce similar products, but nowhere else is a populace so enthused nor the product so popular.  They range in price from about 14-80 euros per kilo ($12 a poung and up).