Categories
Packaged Food

Costco Is Selling Some of The World’s Most Expensive Ham For A Fraction Of Market Price

Image courtesy of Costco Wholesale

Iberico Ham is one of the most expensive meats you can purchase. Boasting a rich flavor and velvety texture, you can find a single leg of the decadent meat costing more than a $1,000 depending on where you buy it.

Is it worth it for the flavor? Absolutely. Albeit the price can be a little steep, especially if you’re trying to budget for the holidays. Those of you with a Costco card, however, are primed to save more than a pretty penny.

Costco is selling said meat for only a fraction of the price that it would typically cost in Spain.

Image courtesy of Constantine Spyrou

Produced in the Valle de los Pedroches, a region in Southern Spain, the ham is from Iberico Breed pigs that are fed a vegetarian diet of acorn and grass and raised free-range — all prime conditions when raising livestock.

At $560, the whole leg is about 40 percent less than what you would find sold directly from Spain or other online retailers. Cuts of the same leg have ranged from upward of $800 to even $1,000 depending on where you decide to purchase it.

For more context, Foodbeast writer Constantine Spyrou was in Spain earlier this year and found whole legs of Jamon Iberico de Bellota for sale at about 969 Euros per leg. In US dollars, that translates to about $1,067.

Costco’s leg coming out to approximately 51% of that price.

Image courtesy of Constantine Spyrou

Another leg the lauded world traveler found cost 850 Euros, $935 USD, making it 58% of that price. Even Amazon sells it for about $100 more than Costco.

You can find the leg of Jamon Iberico de Bellota both online and at Costco locations nationwide.

Categories
Adventures Culture Restaurants

A Crash Course On Jamon Iberico, The Most Expensive Ham In The World

Prosciutto, coppa, and serrano are all amazing and flavorsome cuts of pork. Still, none of them hold a candle to the most prized piece of ham you can find — jamon iberico.

Raised exclusively in Spain, this meat is beloved for its melt-in-your-mouth consistency, rich flavor, and buttery texture. A single leg of the best jamon iberico can sell for over $1,000, and chances are you’ll be spending at least 20 Euros ($22.50 USD) on just an ounce of the ham.

That price tag isn’t even the most shocking part about iberico, however. The ham’s surprising health properties and varying types are lesser known, but equally as mind-boggling.

While jamon iberico contains a healthy amount of fat, science has shown that most of it provides some surprising benefits. The highest grades of Iberian pigs are fed an acorn diet, and the fats from those nuts make their way into the meat. “The type of fat it produces is similar to olive oil,” says Teresa Montano, chef and owner of popular Spanish restaurant, Otoño, in Los Angeles. That fat, which is a bright, vibrant yellow, is why the Iberian pigs are known in Spain as “the tree with four legs.”

Scientifically, the predominant fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that has been linked to aiding with everything from autoimmune diseases to wound healing, and even can be used to aid in cancer treatment. An Iberian pig’s fat content can be about 59% oleic acid if fed a strict acorn diet, a drastic difference from standard pork fat. Thus, iberico pork, and therefore, jamon iberico, inherently is far less harmful to our diets than standard pork when pigs are fed a 100% acorn diet.

This is where the differing types of iberico ham come into play. The actual pigs and their diets can vary, which in turn, changes the composition of the fat as well as the quality and price of the resulting ham. A top of the line ham leg will come from a 100% Iberico, 100% acorn-fed pig, known as jamon iberico de bellota. Other varieties you can find include jamon iberico de cebo (grain-fed) and jamon iberico de cebo de campo (grain and grass-fed).

How long the pigs have to be on this diet is also determined by law. “To have the de bellota stamp, a certain percentage of the diet or a certain amount of years in their life has to be de bellota,” Chef Montano explained. That is determined when the pigs reach 25 kilograms in weight and their diet and fat content are assessed.

As far as pigs go, the genetic makeup can also vary, which is how different breeds of jamon iberico can be created. There are only two types of pigs that can be bred to make the ham: Iberian pigs or Duroc pigs. The qualifying pigs can either be 100% Iberian, 75% Iberian, or 50% Iberian as a result. These are the only legal designations for pigs that can be considered to produce jamon iberico.

While all of the above can be a little bit confusing at first, Spain has created a system of colorized tags that let you identify the varying qualities of ham. The four tags, and what they mean, are as follows:

  • White: The pigs were at least 50% Iberian and are grain-fed.
  • Green: The pigs were at least 50% Iberian and are fed with both grain and grass.
  • Red: Iberico ham de bellota (acorn fed) from a pig that’s at least 50% Iberian.
  • Black: Iberico ham de bellota (acorn fed) from a pig that’s 100% Iberian.

There are other strict regulations that help protect the authenticity of iberico ham, including limiting production to an area of Spain called the Dehesa (meadow), a region rich in fields of acorns that the pigs feed on. All of this ensures that the jamon iberico we get here in the US is the exact same as the one enjoyed and beloved in Spain.

Categories
Restaurants

This ‘Robin Hood’ Restaurant Charges The Rich Extra To Feed The Poor And It’s Beautiful

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Take from the rich, give to the poor. That simple mantra has become synonymous with the tales of a merry crusader known as Robin Hood.

The appropriately named Robin Hood Restaurant in Madrid, Spain, has taken the spirit of that crusade and turned it into an innovative concept for their patrons, as customers who dine during breakfast and lunch hours, actually pay a little extra so the homeless can enjoy a free dinner there, reports NPR.

That means, if you decide to grab lunch at Robin Hood, a cut of your bill is technically going toward a homeless person’s dinner, later that night.

Robin Hood is run by Ángel García Rodriguez, an 80-year-old Catholic priest who is warmly nicknamed “Padre Ángel” by the community. The restaurant has garnered so much positive publicity, that it’s been book through March already.

Here’s hoping this amazing concept comes to the United States sometime soon. The world could always use more good will.

 

Categories
Fast Food

Burger King Dips Into The Booze Game With New WHOPPER WINE

Whopper-Wine

While the only sleek-black menu item at Burger Kings in the US are the new Halloween Whopper, Spain locations have something a little more exquisite in mind. The chain is offering an exclusive Whopper Wine in celebration of the first franchise that opened in Madrid 40 years ago.

Working with advertising agency La Despensa Ingredientes Creativos, the chain created a fancy wine for the brand’s 40th European anniversary. The bottle features an all-black design with a minimalistic Whopper illustrated in bars. It even comes in a swanky black package.

Not quite sure the specifics on what kind of wine it is. Hopefully, it doesn’t actually taste like a Whopper. Any Spaniards want to send us a bottle?

Photos: Facebook

Categories
Fast Food

Three Europe-Themed Burgers Added to Burger King’s UK Menus

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Last week, Burger King announced they were releasing three new Whopper sandwiches in India. Looks like the world tour is just beginning for the burger chain as they’re now adding another three, this time, to their UK locations. The new burgers, dubbed the Euro Trip menu, are each inspired by a different European country.

The Italian Chicken Royale, inspired by, yes, Italy, is made with a breaded chicken patty. The sandwich is then stuffed with mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes and marinara sauce on a long, breaded, sesame bun.

Inspired by (guesses anyone?), the Spanish Whopper consists of a beef patty, crispy onions, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, cheese and a special bravas (spicy tomato) sauce.

The Amsterdam Steakhouse burger is made with a beef patty, a Dutch Edam cheese slice, bacon, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a barbecue sauce. It’s inspired by the Netherlands.

Burger King UK’s Euro Trip Burgers will be available at participating UK locations. The menu also features a Warm Belgium Waffle, a Chocolate Brownie Hottie (a sort of miniature lava cake) and a Sticky Toffee Hottie (ditto).

H/T Brand Eating

Categories
Fast Food

McDonald’s Hong Kong Does Square Patties & Potato Wedges for World Cup

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First it was fancy fry boxes. Then it was country-inspired sandwiches. Now McDonald’s is continuing the World Cup-themed cavalcade in Hong Kong, with a limited time menu that includes three kinds of chicken wings, potato wedges, orange fruit punch, and a four-patty spicy beef cheeseburger.

Mickey D’s tribute to Spain, the Spicy Beef Burger comes topped with cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and the aforementioned square slices of beef, though we’re not sure what any of it has to do with Spain. The spice is courtesy of Malagueta chili sauce, which Brand Eating reports is actually more common in Brazilian cuisine than Spanish.

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What is exciting, though, regardless of origin, are the other limited-time offerings. Not only does the McWings Platter includes flavors like Pickled Chili and Crispy Garlic, but the orange punch is practically a nonalcoholic sangria, and the fried potatoes come in wedge form instead of our boring old French julienne. Sure they’re still just potatoes, but the fact that we can’t get them here is still enough to make me go, “WANT.”