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Iberian Ham (Jamon Iberico) in Toronto?

I'm looking to track down some Iberian Ham in Toronto. Does anyone know of any specialty grocers or butchers that might have it in stock? I've already tried Whole Foods with no luck.

Thanks in advance,

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  1. Epicure on Parliament south of Carlton sells Jamon Serrano.

    1. Thank you very much! Definitely a good plan B if I can't track down the Iberian (which seems to be likely at this point).

      1. It's been legal in Canada for some time, as is Italian mortadella. I get mine from Longo's but I suspect the upscale Loblaws have it, too. It's not all that uncommon now.

        1. No luck with any of the Loblaws Markets, though apparently the Queens Quay location will be testing out the Serrano starting this weekend for a limited run. Unfortunately I'm bound by public transit so Longo's is a little out of the way, but thanks for the suggestion!

          1. I guess my only point, Mark,is that Spanish serrano ham is in fairly wide circulation now(e.g., Longo's), so don't fall for the boutique "con" that you're getting something "rare."

            1. Good advice, thank you :)

              From what I understand, the quality of the Serrano ham depends a lot on the producer and that the lower quality Serrano ham is a little easier to find then the higher quality stuff. I've tracked down two places that at least "claim" to have the higher quality stuff: Epicure and another place down at the SLM, but if anyone in-the-know can tell me what to look for to know whether I'm getting the higher quality stuff I'd appreciate it.

              Normally I wouldn't be fussy as I imagine the taste difference isn't noticable to the casual pallate, but I'm preparing the meal for a special occasion and would like to put in the extra effort.

              3 Replies
              1. re: anonymousmark

                Just so you know...there is only 1 type of serrano ham beign sold right now in Canada. The brand name is Campofrio. Some places specialy some restaurants claim to have Iberico or even pata negra but that is NOT true. Campofrio is not the best Serrano ham but it is by far a much better product than proccuto.

                1. re: anonymousmark

                  There is a huge difference in taste among the different kinds of ham. Pato negro is perhaps the best I've ever tasted (in Spain). I was told the pigs are fed acorns by a deli owner who had me taste pato negro vs. run of the mill jamon. An incredible difference of taste and texture. That said, 100 grams cost me over $20. I'm not sure Canadians are ready to pay that kind of money.

                  1. re: Tout Garni

                    Jamón ibérico (pata negra--pato negro means black duck!) and jamón serrano/curado are not comparable products at all.

                    Jamón ibérico comes from a different pig (el cerdo ibérico) and has the capacity to produce very finely marbled meat with unsaturated nutty flavored fat. Within the category of jamón ibérico, there are also different levels of quality: de pienso (grain fed), de recebo (acorn and grain fed), and de bellota (acorn fed).

                    The ibérico that will be imported into the US (and Canada?) will not be processed exactly the same way that it is for the Spanish/European market, due to the USDA regulations. The same goes for the imported serrano--the good traditionally produced stuff isn't imported at this time.

                2. Pata Negra or Jamon Iberico are fantastic, but as far I've understood (I asked them once at Cava -- more of a desperate pleading really), it is illegal to import them into Canada at this time. (But of course I guess it's possible that someone could have found a way to smuggle some in...perhaps that's why you were able to try it here!)

                  1. Sorry, Starchaser, but that's doubtful and is part of the con. Imported pork products like serrano and mortadella have been legal for well over a year. It all goes back to the swine flu scare of the '60s that led to import bans in N. America. What people choose to import is another matter and has nothing to do with restrictions.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      Hi Kagemusha -- I don't think there's any con going on. Of course Serrano ham is available, but there are certain types of Iberico that I believe are under import restrictions due to how they (the pigs) are grown/fed or prepared or processed (not sure of the reasons, it was explained to me but I've since forgotten -- I think I was drinking too much Spanish wine at the time!) If that weren't the case, one would be able to find Pata Negra in Toronto. I am sure the restrictions will lift eventually. Check out what an interviewer with Marc Thuet wrote in March of 2006:
                      "Lately he has been selling French-style saucisson (dry sausages) from Quebec (and waiting until import laws relax even further so he can get hold of French ones), as well as sliced sun-dried tomato-basil turkey."
                      But if you do find any of those hams about, let me know -- I'll bring the manchego and Rioja!

                      1. re: Kagemusha

                        UPDATE! Just spoke to Michael at Serrano Imports (416-929-7765) and he said that if anyone has any questions about the Iberico hams and when they will be coming to Canada, they can contact him. He did say that currently it is not available, but they are working on it and hoping it will be here by 2008. Also, there is a consortium that governs the quality, when Iberico comes in, there will a seal on it saying it is Real Iberico. If it doesn't have this, it is basically "buyer beware".

                      2. a plant in spain (covap) has passed usda certification. The first shipments of Jamon Iberico is scheduled to ship in 2007. Hopefully this means it'll show up soon in Canada also.

                        My friend snuck some back on a trip recently, lucky bastard.


                        1. Currently reporting from Spain (Granada) so don ́t have access to my home records.
                          But search my previous posts - buried you will find a place to try Jamon Iberico in Toronto - I won ́t comment on how it arrived, but it ́s genuine.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: estufarian

                            I was just in NYC the past week and sampled Iberico products at a shop called despana that specialize in spanish gourmet products. They are now available in the US so hopefully soon in canada.

                            1. re: j6p

                              Actually there are many grades (ages). The youngest has just about reached the point of being 'legal' in US. But it's going to be another year (2008) before the aged stuff is legal.

                              1. re: estufarian

                                its a minimum of 24 months, there are 3 kinds of the same pig though, jamon iberico bellota (100% acorn) recibo (acorn and grain) and just jamon iberico grain and grass fed, best place is 85 km from sevilla called jabugo where the air dries the ham the best according to the spanish

                          2. Chaido - bar menu
                            You need to ask for it in the restaurant.
                            They will explain to you how they come by it.
                            Think it is about $25. per portion.
                            I've had it a couple of times, but it doesn't seem to be as smooth as the ham I remember in Spain.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: erly

                              That's because they do not have the real Spanish Iberico. What they have is a cured ham that is from portugal that portugal calls Serrano. I can confirm that the only similarity is the name.

                              1. re: paul6519

                                Before you "confirm" check the label on the ham (it's still attached). Denominacion de Origen and Bellota are both included. And it doesn't say Serrano anywhere!

                                But more important - TASTE it!
                                If it isn't the real stuff, then I want to know where to get this.

                            2. Estufarian is correct.
                              I too, have seen the label.
                              Possibly you did have a different ham when you were there, but they have the "real" thing.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: erly

                                Yes, I have seen it on the menu at Chiado, and tried to order it recently but they were out of it that night. And better not to ask them to explain to you how they come by it... ;)
                                As you'll see in my previous postings, if you speak to the guys who import Spanish ham/charcuterie into Toronto, they'll rightfully explain to you that true Jamon Iberico is not officially available here yet. I'm American, so I know our food importation rules are different than Canada's, but last I checked, as Estufarian stated, the best varieties are still not available in the US -- that's why I always hear stories of friends at the US border getting "busted" for trying to smuggle cured meats in their suitcases -- heck, it even happened to my grandmother last time she went to Italy! Will check again when I'm home for Xmas.

                              2. Hey all,
                                I found Jamon Iberico, I'm pretty sure its not bellota. But it is Iberico.

                                MEDIUM RARE
                                5241 Dundas St. West, Etobicoke, ON M9B 1A5
                                Tel: 416.231.1500 Fax: 416.231.1531

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: vinh8464

                                  Summerhill Market sells Serrano Jamon imported from Spain, vacumn packed. It's about $9 for 7 or 8 slices. I have some in my fridge right now.

                                2. I had bought some at the Fresh&Wild at the corner of King+Spadina

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: gegtik

                                    As I mentioned WAAAAY back in this thread, Spanish pork products like Serrano and other hams are in wide circulation, even more so now, so don't sucker for the boutique con and pay a jacked price--supermarkets carry it now!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu


                                        Has McEwan sliced into it yet ? ;-)

                                        Seriously though, are there any other good Jamon Iberico source(s) available ? Got me a craving for some good cured pig...

                                        1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                          Famu in J-town (they even have imberico bacon!)

                                          also I think Easton's Charcuterie was planning on ordering some in too.

                                          1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                            I believe Cheese Boutique has had Iberico in the past...

                                          2. re: Charles Yu

                                            Scheffler's in SLM had a leg of pata negra not long ago. I had a $20 breakfast of it one morning on one of the picnic tables outside.

                                      2. Bought some Jamon Iberico in a vac-pac from McEwans this week. Package says Fermin is the first Iberico producer to meet USDA standards.

                                        Tasty but not worth the $17 for 4 slices.

                                          1. re: jl_1978

                                            Awesome!!!! Thanks!! Wonder if the stand comes with the Ham?!

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              Yes, it does!

                                              8 kg (17.6 lb.) Bone-in Jamón Ibérico dry-cured 24 months
                                              Wood stand
                                              Carving knife
                                              Shipped in an insulated box with ice-pack

                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                Charles knowing a bit about you from what you post here I think you would want to go for the 36 months aged one here :)

                                                It was a part of the tasting menu at E' by Jose Andreas in Vegas (I don't eat pork) but my friend who tried it still raves about it.

                                                1. re: elvisahmed

                                                  Ha!Ha! For that price, I might as well grab a JetBlue flight to NYC for Can$99, eat the ham to my heart's content at some of those gorgeous tapas bar and have enough money left for a couple of Michelin 3* meals!!!

                                              2. re: Charles Yu

                                                For that price Costco should send a carver to your house to carve it for you too!

                                              3. re: jl_1978

                                                wow, who knew?! now if only i could convince several people to chip in to split the costs...

                                                1. re: auberginegal

                                                  Um, host a chowhounders' potluck party but charge a small fee to help pay for the Jamon Iberico and a server/dishwasher. Guests can bring a dish of their own plus a bottle of wine or other spirits.

                                                  On a separate note, I'm pretty sure I've seen pre-packaged Jamon Iberico slices at Bruno's (Yonge and Heath St.). I don't recall the price, but it was enough to deter me that day.

                                                2. re: jl_1978

                                                  ¡Dios mío! I'm going hug my jamón in Madrid a little harder after seeing those prices. This 24-month ham isn't even a "bellota" ham--the pigs were fed regular feed. On the plus side, under the right atmospheric conditions, a ham keeps for at least six months.

                                                  1. re: butterfly

                                                    I saw this on another forum.

                                                    Loblaws (I assume selects ones) has Fermin Iberico and Serrano ham on sale for $1.99 for 100g. YMMV.

                                                    So far the only reported GTA sighting was Bayview and Hwy 7.

                                                    I've never had any before but have read enough about it that I always wanted to try it and now seems like as good a time as any.

                                                    Here's hoping one of my local Loblaws is stocking it.

                                                    1. re: Etobs_Finest

                                                      Thanks for the tip.

                                                      Unfortunately not all Ibericos are created equally. Like comparing Fords with Ferraris. Got to believe the imported Loblaws stuff is a Ford. Even the Imberico at McEwans was a presliced prepackaged so-so.

                                                      All worth trying (maybe), but some much better than the others...

                                                      1. re: Etobs_Finest

                                                        Here's a picture taken from the original sighting in Ottawa.

                                                        1. re: Etobs_Finest

                                                          Sadly, Fermin is the weakest version I've tried.
                                                          Even though the price is good, please don't make any final judgements on Iberico on the basis of this.
                                                          I hear there are now a couple of other producers approved for sale, and hopefully they will be better.

                                                          1. re: estufarian

                                                            Yes!! Fermin and Peregrino are the two more common and less expensive brands, For higher quality there's ' Cinco Jotas ', which I have seen and tasted in NYC and Hong Kong. So sweet and flavorful and not at all salty! Their ...de Bellota 'Jamones Enteros' is about $300 more expensive than the Fermin or Peregrino!!
                                                            BTW, wonder which brand our 'Patria' uses??!

                                                          2. re: Etobs_Finest

                                                            I also thought Iberico is traditionally sliced more in the direction of the bone, not across grain which the picture seems to show.

                                                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                              From the size, configuration, and fat composition, I'd say it looks like paleta, not jamón.

                                                          3. re: Etobs_Finest

                                                            I don't know what kind of Iberico it was, but my husband said he paid about $18 for 150 grams, certainly a lot more than $1.99 for 100 grams. I thought that it was delicious!

                                                      2. A little off topic, but of interest to cured ham lovers !

                                                        Starskys has an Italian Prosciutto (Montana) for $17.17/kg that melts like butter in your mouth. So tender it will spoil you for the inferior quality Iberico brands.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                          I that the 'Montana' from their current flyer?
                                                          The picture hardly shows any fat (unlike the Iberico).

                                                          1. re: estufarian

                                                            Dunno, didn't see the flyer, just happened to stop in the Dundas store today.

                                                            I'd estimate 30% fat, super tender, excellent flavor. Now RUN !!!