CURE AT HEART
Using only acorn-fed pigs and a method that dates back 150 years, Joselito produces natural, healthy and flavourful ham of exceptional quality
“We were the first company in the world to differentiate its hams by vintage,” says José Gomez, president and sixth-generation owner of the Spanish ham firm Joselito. “When you go to our shop, you’ll be asked if you want a 2014 or 2016 vintage, for example. Each year has a different flavour and, of course, a different length of curation.”
Joselito is much more than just a ham company. Like a great wine or classic car made with craft and dedication, its ham is celebrated as one of the world’s finest products. While other brands use machines to ensure stock results, Joselito employs traditional practices that date back to 1868, conducted by a team of “ham masters”. These include letting the acorn season, known in Spain as “the Montanera”, define the flavour of that year’s pigs, and using entirely natural methods to cure the meat.
“We are different because we produce a completely natural ham, without preservatives or additives,” says José. “Our ham has only two ingredients, ham and sea salt. That’s all.”
As well as the extraordinary flavour that this process delivers, José explains that there are health benefits to be enjoyed. “Our ham helps not only with the heart and intestinal health, but also with emotional health,” he says. “Early studies suggest our ham contains a lot of precursors for serotonin, the happiness hormone.”
Joselito hams can be found in the finest restaurants and gourmet grocery stores in more than 50 countries, proving particularly successful in China and the Far East in recent years. “On a trip to Japan a few years ago, we were told that our ham is one of the few products in the world that has natural umami,” says José. “It’s amazing because we’ve been taking care of the pigs in just the same way for the past 150 years. Back then we didn’t know it was so good for health and flavour; it’s only now that we’re learning about the full benefits of this age-old method.”
This dedication to traditional husbandry is what drives Joselito, resulting in a product that is unparalleled in terms of taste and quality. “Our goal remains the same, whatever the vintage,” says José. “We will continue to strive for excellence.”