We had a great time at the Savor beer festival this past weekend. And for the first time in the three year history of Savor, we have no major food complaints. Of course going into it we assumed the food would be just as terrible as it had been the previous two years. So this year rather than head to a restaurant beforehand, we hosted a pre-Savor Serrano ham party. Not only would the salt cured Spanish ham increase our thirst for beer, it would also allow our guests to carve as much as they wanted. Of course we had to figure out where to get an entire Spanish ham; in PQ we only know of carved slices available at Cowgirl Creamery, but as all our readers know there isn’t a real butcher in sight.
We’ve talked about throwing a Serrano ham party for years. Growing up as 2nd generation Italian-Americans, we always thought of the Italian Prosciutto as the best cured ham you could eat thinly sliced. We still love Prosciutto, but over the years the Serrano that’s been on various charcuterie plates (and the amount we’ve eaten at Jose Andres restaurants) have us convinced that Spanish ham is the way to go. It didn’t take very long to figure out the best way to get such a ham, a simple internet searched told us that La Tienda would be our one-stop-shop for all things Spanish. The best part? La Tienda’s store is just a few hours away in Williamsburg.
With La Tienda so close their free ground shipping (for orders over $100) ends up being next day delivery. Of course we couldn’t just offer our guests Serrano ham (or at least that’s what Mrs Columbo said) so our total order consisted of a whole (boneless, Mrs Columbo didn’t want to see any hoof) Serrano ham, a few pounds of Manchego cheese, a couple of tubs of membrillo, olives, and chocolates called cat tongues. Add a few baguettes, melon, and berries and we were armed with the perfect pre-beer-fest foods available (one kind guest even brought us a case of the banquet beer).
La Tienda also sells whole Iberico hams, but the $800 to $1,400 price range was just too much to spend. Serrano ham is much more reasonably priced with whole hams costing less than $300, and still tastes excellent. Our Serrano ham was, according to the La Tienda website, produced from pigs humanely raised in Salamanca, Spain (the pig might argue with the word “humanely” as I shaved off pieces of his delicious shoulder). The hams are cured for over a year in the mountain region of La Alberca. And perhaps most important to Mrs Columbo, the package these hams arrive in has a small photo (seal of approval?) from Jose Andres himself.
Short digression: Mrs Columbo has a bit of a crush on Jose Andres; but somehow she’s never around when we run into him on the streets of PQ. But one fateful day when headed to dinner at Zaytinya there was Jose, larger than life, holding the door open for her. Mrs Columbo didn’t hesitate, she ran up to Jose and yelled “this is the moment!” in her very best imitation of his “Made in Spain” catchphrase. Well Jose reacted a little more like she had yelled “what’s the frequency Kenneth,” so maybe he doesn’t know we all think “this is the moment” is his catchphrase. None-the-less, it’s a story we love to embarrass Mrs Columbo with as often as possible.
We can’t say enough good things though about the Serrano ham, nor can we say enough good things about La Tienda. Like many a PQ resident we’d rather have a local butcher, but at least we know anytime we’re craving a good ham we can have one delivered the very next day.