Terminology about Spanish Pata Negra ham

Spanish Iberian pig


The overall number of Iberian pigs sacrificed during the same transhumance. Each and every añada has its own features.

Bodega (cellar)

A bodega is a room or enclosed space with constant level of humidity and temperature where hams are cured and then stored.

Cala (piercing stage)

Experts pierce hams with a needle (called cala) made of cow or horse shinbone to test the aroma. When the needle is pulled out, it is whiffed in order to rank the ham.
In this stage, it is possible to unveil the unique flavour and aroma of Iberian ham.


In this stage, it is possible to take advantage of natural resources. For these reasons, Iberian pigs eat acorns, herbs and roots.
As a general rule, this stage begins in October, as this is the period in which acorns start falling, and it lasts until February or March.  A shepherd controls the herd of pigs during this phase.
In order to exploit the greatest potential offered by acorns, it is recommended to begin feeding animals in areas difficult to reach as they are more agile.
It is the high level of fat provided by acorns that grants quality and prestige to Iberian ham.

Cerdo ibérico (Iberian pig)

Iberian pigs are indigenous to the south-west and east area of the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian breed is currently one of the few examples of a domesticated breed, as it has adapted to a pastoral setting. Iberian pigs are worldwide known thanks to their great capacity to accumulate fat under its skin and between the muscular fibres. The extremities of this animal are normally thin and long.

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