I was at my local Dorothy Lane Market tonight, and I snapped this photo of what is – officially – the world’s most expensive ham: Jamón ibérico. Retail price? $129.99 per pound.
The description on the card? “The most famous Spanish ham made from the rare black hoof pig that feeds on acorns and wild plants. Cured for 36 months; unequaled flavor!”
Apparently, the particular version that Dorothy Lane carries is the most prized. “This ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests (called dehesas) along the border between Spain and Portugal, and eat only acorns during this last period,” says a Wikipedia entry on the meat. “It is also known as jamón ibérico de Montanera. The exercise and diet have a significant impact on the flavor of the meat; the ham is cured for 36 months.”
Even if you know you’ll never cave in and pay that much for pork (especially when you’re trying to get on a vegan diet), you can’t help but wonder what Jamón ibérico tastes like.
I guess if I do decide to break down and try it, there is one saving grace: the meat is served in exceptionally thin slices – cut so thin in fact that they’re translucent. I wonder if the meat cutter at Dorothy Lane would sell me a single slice?