BUYING jamon at the supermarket in Spain can be a bit of a minefield.
With so many brands and cuts available, and at such varying prices, it’s difficult to know which offers the best bang for your buck.
Well now the OCU Consumer Organisation has analysed all the products in a lab and ranked them in order of quality, so you don’t have to.
It comes after consumer regulations were brought in in 2014 which forced brands to reveal the breed of the pig and its diet.
Meat is now categorised as either 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham (denoted by a black seal), 50-75% acorn-fed ham (denoted by a red seal), Jamon de Cebo de Campo (pigs raised on little to no acorns, denoted by a green label) or finally the white-labelled Jamon de Cebo, made from pigs raised on feed, not acorns.
Experts have tested the DNA makeup of each meat product before running a taste trial, judging on aroma, flavour, texture, colour and saltiness.
100% Iberian Bellota
In the highest quality category, according to the OCU, the best product is the Club gourmet El Corte Inglés 100% ibérico bellota.
Scoring 85 out of 100, the product costs €16.70 for an 80g packet (€208.75 per kilo).
The OCU praised its ‘excellent taste’ and said it contained the highest level of oleic acid – a decisive ingredient for taste and texture.
The second-best in this category was the Bellota 100% ibérico de Cinco Jotas.
With 77 points, it is a little bit pricier at €27.50 per 80g packet (€343.57 per kilo).
Third was the 100% Covap Esencia Única Bellota Jamon, with an overall rating of 74 points and a sale price of €22 per 120g packet (€183.33 euros per kilo).
50% Iberian bellota
In the second category, the best product, with 91 points, is the 50% Iberico Cuyar Jabugo, on the shelves for €15.90 per 85g packet (€187.06 per kilo).
Runner up is the Bellota Iberico El Corte Inglés (85 points), costing €14.99 for two packs of 50g (€149.90 per kilo).
The Bellota Iberico Plato Villar is third with 79 points and at €10.50 per 80g (€131.25 per kilo)
Jamon de Cebo
In the lowest category, the Iberico Bait Sánchez Alcaraz came out on top with 89 points and costing from just €9.35 per 200g.
It was followed by Realvalle de Lidl on 88 points, Sierra Leales (88), Villar (87), Auchan (84), La Charcutería de Mercadona (84) and Mafresa (83).