Princely pork

By Liu Zhihua ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-29 07:35:34

Princely pork

Beli Simeon, a senior ham carver, demonstrates proper slicing at a recent tasting event organized by a producer of Spanish ham, 5J Cinco Jotas. Provided To China Daily

Iberico ham brings a luxe touch to food imports of Spain, Liu Zhihua reports.

In 1879, Spanish entrepreneur Rafael Sanchez Romero founded 5J Cinco Jotas to offer meats from 100-percent Iberian black pigs, an animal species descended directly from the prehistoric Mediterranean boar.

More than 130 years later, the company's premium ham is capturing the hearts of Chinese foodies, while it has become a national treasure of Spain.

"Iberico pigs are called 'running olive oil with four legs'," says Beli Simeon, the company's master ham carver, at a recent tasting event in Beijing.

"The purer the breed is, the better the Iberico ham will be."

Simeon joined the company when she was 24; she had developed a strong interest since the age of 16, when she began slicing ham while working for her family store.

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