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Oct 25, 2007 08:49 AM

Iberico Ham from Spain

I have a few questions:

Is this available in TO yet? If not, when and where. I would imagine that Sheffler's will carry it.

Is it really much better than the standard Serrano I get at Shefflers?

I have also heard that it is healthier from higher concentrations of Omega 3. Is that true?

Is Iberico the same thing as Pata Negra?


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  1. No. Its currently illegal to import.

    Its is bordering on the most heavenly of foods.

    Don't know about that one???



    1 Reply
    1. re: Matt416

      Not in the US. Are the rules different in Canada? I figured that North America as a whole would get the go-ahead from our governments, but I'm wrong on that?

      Good God, please tell me I'm not wrong.

    2. I think that it's available at Cava. I seem to remember seeing that on their website recently. But, that's a restaurant, not a retail outlet.

      11 Replies
      1. re: hungry_pangolin

        I think Cava serves Serrano ham, not Iberico ham.

        1. re: ace123

          Yes, both Cava and Toritos serve only Serrano ham. Iberico is twice as expensive as Serrano but its much 'sweeter' and less taste.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            though not on the menu, Chaido often has Iberico ham available.

            1. re: erly

              there was a rumor going around last year that they got heavily fined by the city for serving it. Just a rumor though.


              1. re: Matt416

                After some research, it is legal in ONTARIO ONLY, while not legal in the rest of Canada, yet (but will be soon).

                Confirming this would be this website: (which also gives you a place to order it if you can't find it locally here in the city).

                1. re: Bueno

                  Just out of curiosity, what was the issue that made it previously illegal? How can anything that tastes so good be bad for us?

                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                    I'm not sure of all the issues surrounding it, but I know that if the pigs are raised OUTSIDE of Spain, and then brought to Spain for the curing and aging process, then it then makes it okay to import to other countries.

                    There aren't (weren't) any USDA-approved slaughterhouses in Spain. They use old-world methods/techniques/principles, and that raised health concerns that the USDA were not prepared to deal with. When this first became an issue, producers then started popping up that did things in a way that would conform to USDA standards in order to open up (and cash in on) the market for export. So as the governments move slowly through all the red tape, we wait, now that, at least, there are producers in Spain producing Iberico that meats USDA health/safety standards for food importation.

                    (Same kinda thing goes on with raw-milk/unpasteurized cheeses)

                    1. re: Bueno

                      I'm currently in Paris (returning too soon!) and have eaten several times at Bellota Bellota 'bar/cafe' in Galeries Lafayette--we had pata negro sandwiches with cheese a couple of times and yesterday bought some to go to bring home and nibble on. This will hurt, but it wasn't that expensive! I know I will never find it for this price in TO--if I find it at all, and I half wish that I could bring some home.

                      That being said, while it was quite enjoyable, I don't see it as the 'oh my god' ham that others do...perhaps my tastes have been somewhat altered by the vast amounts of chevre and vin rouge that I have been downing while here :) It is definately less salty and somewhat sweeter, and overall quite good...just not my number one choice.

                      1. re: diesta

                        It is in fact my favourite salumi, but I'm also not in the "oh my god" camp. I'm 95% as happy with good Serrano (Schlesinger's), good Prosciutto SD (Cheese Boutique). And about 85% as happy with good Speck, Guangiale, Lardo, and Niagara Prosciutto. And thus, I'm not gonna go to extremes for that other 5-15 %. I'll be happy when it's more easily available, but until then, I'm cool with what is currently at my fingertips.

                        And for me, and obviously a different experience all together, I'd rather just eat a hunk of toro. :)

                    2. re: hungry_pangolin

                      Problems stretches way back the Swine Flu epidemics of 40-odd years ago. This kept imported pork products out of N. America. Relaxing the bans recently let Italian pork products back in, along with some Spanish items-- so I'm told.

                    3. re: Bueno

                      Fascinating - Ontario only eh!
                      And it's a federal regulation that keeps the stuff out.
                      Don't put your money down too quickly!
                      My guess is that this company was the source of the genuine stuff that was briefly available in Toronto (albeit illegally).
                      And yes, the good stuff is amazing - WAY better than any other ham I've had. But it comes in all qualities(ages). Only the youngest will be (theoretically) available next year - gradually increasing in age (and reputed quality).
                      And the slaughterhouse comment above is the reason for the current ban. Not that there was anything wrong, necessarily, but the slaughterhouses weren't USDA approved (why would they be? - just a non-tariff barrier).
                      I have a wholesaler waiting to supply me with part of the first batch.