Toano, VA (Vocus) April 9, 2009
For over one hundred years Monte Nevado has been curing jamón high in the Sierra de Cameros mountains of northern Spain. These hams are all natural – just pork and salt. They have named LaTienda.com as their exclusive source of their All Natural Jamón Serrano in America.
LaTienda.com is a family company, which has been online since 1996. The Virginia based Spanish food online retailer, was the first to bring Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico de Bellota to homes across America. It now introduces All Natural Jamón Serrano in half pound hand-sliced packets for $19.95.
Jamón Serrano, the signature cured ham from Spain, is becoming increasingly familiar to restaurants and fine grocers across the United States. It is a sea salt cured ham that is ready to eat, somewhat similar to Italian Prosciutto di Parma. However, the Spanish curing process produces a ham with significantly less fat and salt, a fuller flavor, and a firmer texture than prosciutto.
Traditionally, fresh Serrano hams are cured in the mountain air for 12 -18 months. However, in the past up to 10% of the hams were discarded due to spoilage. Some modern Spanish ham companies have virtually eliminated this problem by using modern curing methods, ultra clean facilities, and by adding nitrates. Although the addition of nitrates reduces spoilage and hastens the curing time, it comes at a cost; the flavor is diminished compared to the all natural ham. While sea salt contains nitrates, it is only a trace amount.
Producer Monte Nevado rejects any short-cuts in its all natural hams and follows the traditional methods of curing. Rather than compromising the natural flavor by speeding up the curing process with the addition of nitrates, Monte Nevado invests more curing time for the hams, as it has for four generations. This gives the natural sea salt more time to cure the hams. Monte Nevado is based in La Rioja at 3,300 feet where the fresh, dry air of the mountains cures its hams a minimum of 15 months to ensure they are as good as or better than any nitrate treated ham.
LaTienda.com was the first company to offer Jamón Serrano online to customers in the U.S., starting in 1998; it also prepared the way for Jamón Iberico de Bellota, Spain’s finest ham, by taking deposits for the $1400 hams and proving there was a market for fine Spanish foods. The company is owned by the Harris family and offers over 600 gourmet products from Spain through its website and print catalog.