Hilarious! Only our Spaniards! What a pleasure to be able to talk about pigs and fat again!

4 Oct

Pig ignorant: Spanish PM ridiculed for mixing up his hams

Pedro Sánchez confuses prized jamón ibérico for plain old jamón serrano in ‘serious error’



Pedro Sánchez  and some jamón ibérico
Pedro Sánchez, and some jamón ibérico. Composite: Europa/Getty/Alamy

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has confused jamón ibérico, the prized Spanish ham, with run-of-the-mill jamón serrano in a gaffe on a par with a French politician referring to a fine burgundy as plonk.

Speaking at the centuries-old livestock fair in Zafra in Extremadura, western Spain, Sánchez left his audience open-mouthed when he told them “you can be sure that when the Chinese president visited Spain he would have been served a plate of jamón serrano from Extremadura”.

Extremadura is the cradle of jamón ibérico, a delicacy capable of throwing Spaniards of all political persuasions into a gastronomic swoon. The local farmers’ association said it had dispatched some to Madrid to educate Sánchez, lest he once again cast his swine before pearls.

The finest version of the ham, jamón ibérico bellota, is made from Iberian blackfoot pigs, or from 50% crossbreeds, which spend the last months of their lives roaming the dehesa – oakland pasture – feeding on grass and acorns.

Once slaughtered, the legs are plunged into vats of salt and hung and dry-cured over a range of temperatures for a minimum of 36 months. The best jamones are cured for around four years.

Commenting on what he called Sánchez’s “serious error”, Ángel García Blanco, the famers’ association president, said: “We couldn’t hope for a better advertising campaign, and a free one, at that. As soon as I heard him utter this drivel, I thought: we have to make the most of this.”

Spain’s love affair with pork goes back millennia and last year the pig population reached 50 million, making them more numerous than humans.

As its popularity has grown internationally, especially in China, supplies of jamón ibérico have not been able to keep pace with demand and the industry has been hit by a series of fraud scandals as suppliers attempt to pass off poor quality ham as top of the range.

One major supermarket chain was found to be selling ham that had passed its sell-by date but had been repackaged and relabelled. More recently a company was caught selling “Spanish” ham that had in fact originated in Poland.

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