Spanish Ham Types: The Classification of Iberico Ham
Iberico Ham can come in many different shapes and sizes. The quality and characteristic of Jamon Iberico are determined by the production and treatment of the Iberian Black Pig. It is very important to classify the Iberico Ham by quality and production.
Introduced in 2014, each certified category of Iberico Ham can be identified by a colour scheme. The colour of the ham’s label identifies the production, quality and characteristics of the Jamon. These colours are Black, Red, Green and White: this is exactly what they mean!
Black Label- Jamon 100% Iberico “Pata Negra”
The black label or Pata Negra (literally means black paw) means that this is the finest of Iberico Hams. It signifies that the Iberico De Bellota has been produced from free-range, 100% pure-bred, acorn-fed Iberian Pigs. These acorns are only available during the Montanera period (October to February). These ham shoulders are hung and dry-cured for at least 24 months before they are ready to be eaten. This gives the Jamon it’s intense, rich and exquisite taste. Due to the care and dedication in its production, the black label is the most highly regarded of all Iberico de Bellota. If you wish to experience the finest of all Spanish Ham types, this is the very best.
Red Label- Jamon Iberico De Bellota
Unlike the Black Label, the red colour identifies Iberico De Dellota that has been produced from Iberian Black Pigs that are not pure-bred. To be classified as red labelled, the pig must be at least 50% black Iberian. Although, like all Iberico de bellota the pigs are only acorn fed and free to roam the dehesa (open area with oak trees). Often these pigs are cross-bred with other more common pig breeds.
Green Label- Jamon Iberico Cebo De Campo
The next grade of ham is called Jamon Iberico Cebo de Campo and is identified with a green label. Unlike the Iberico de Bellota, the Cebo de Campo variant of the ham is made from pigs that are pastured and fed both acorns and grain together. Like the Red Label, the pig breed must be at least 50% black iberian and free-range. The diet of the pig completely changes the flavour and characteristics when eating the ham.
White Label- Jamon Iberico De Cebo
White labelled ham is considered the lowest tear of Iberian Ham and is often called Iberico De Cebo which simply means ‘Jamon Iberico’. While the breed of pig is exactly the same as the red and green label, the animal’s diet only consists of grain. Unlike, the other labelled Spanish ham types the white labels is not free range.
The Black Hoof
We have over 20 years of experience working with all Spanish ham types and have selected the hams we sell very carefully. You can find our products in our store, if you have any questions, our resident expert, Carlos, will be happy to answer any questions!