Select Costco’s to Carry Spain’s Famous Jamon Ibérico de Bellota

December 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

If you are fortunate enough to be at one of the lucky 12 Costco stores in the Midwest, you can now buy a 4 ounce pre-sliced package of the Ibérico de bellota in your deli section. I’ve heard that it is available in the new St. Charles store that recently opened. And my guess is that the 11 other stores are also in the Chicagoland area because the Chicago-based importer Solex Partners is responsible for the deal with Costco. 

Iberico de bellota

Spain's Famous Jamon Ibérico de Bellota

 So, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the special place that this ham holds in culinary circles, I’ll try to provide some details. It is made from the Black Iberian pig, that is the only breed of pig known to eat mainly acorns. And it is the acorns that give the ham its delicious and highly coveted taste. There are three classifications for this ham, based on the amount of acorns that make up the pig’s diet: Ibérico de bellota is the top grade and made from free-range pigs that roam oak forests eating only acorns; ibérico de recebo, is the next grade and made from pigs that are pastured and fed a combination of acorns and grain; the third grade, ibérico de pienso, or simply, jamón ibérico is from pigs that are fed only grain. There’s also a difference in the length of time that the ham is cured 36 months for the top grade and only 24 months for the lowest grade. Ibérico de bellota, the top grade and also the type available at Costco now, are prized both for their smooth texture and rich savory taste. Because of the pig’s diet of acorns, much of the jamón’s fat is oleic acid; which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.

This ham was only granted the USDA seal of approval about a year ago and was sold as whole hams in a small selection of gourmet shops and restaurants with a hefty price tag of around $160 per pound! I have heard that it is $29.99 for the 4 ounce package at Costco, or $119.96 per pound.

For more on this story, you can read about it at Newswire Today.

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1 Response so far ↓

  1. 1 "Corky" Hansen // 2008.12.31 at 11:29 am

    I sure hope they start supplying other stores, like in my area of Atlanta. We get decent serano jamon at other stores, just not iberico. Time to stock up on some manchego.

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