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I have always loved my cured meats. Once during a summer spent in Spain I had just come from a market that sold some delicious chorizos and vela de lomo, I knew I wasn’t going to be home right away and had the whole day to traipse around but it didn’t matter, they looked too good to pass up. And so I bought them and in my hand bag for that entire day I carried around a couple of logs of paprika smoked cured goodies. I was young and single, fresh out of high school and not quite in University yet enjoying my gap year, it was a carefree summer of cute boys and beaches. My friend and I were having sunset drinks with some really handsome suntanned spanish guys and I had mastered the spanish summer essentials: where I came from, where I was going, a couple of flirtatious lines and witty jokes… It was all working out well… till my friend remarked “Strange, it smells like chorizo!” I turned beet red. I knew I was the culprit. Not wanting to embarrass myself I shrugged it off and agreed it was strange. When we finally got home, I sheepishly pulled the chorizos out of my bag and my friend looked at me and said “I knew it!” we had a good laugh and it was a great summer!

There are so many kinds of cured meats and charcuterie – as a child I loved paper thin slices of prosciutto San Daniele on really sweet melons – my parents had taken me to Italy and had turned me into a food snob at the ripe old age of nine; in France I learned to enjoy the really dry and almost nutty artisanal saucisssons; in Germany my husband and I discovered the most wonderful connection ever – truffelsalami –  salami thats been peppered with bits of black truffle that give it this indulgent heady scent…

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Spain of course has an amazing selection of jamon and they each have their own distinct flavor and qualities. As with many of these products each region is rather proud of the own unique process and origins, from what kind of pig to how it was fattened as well as the curing and aging. The people behind TXANTON are passionate not just about their jamon but about educating people on how to appreciate all kinds. I was delighted when they said they would come on board for the launch of my blog, it would be a very first sneak peek of the public of what they have to offer. They brought in a delicious Jamon Iberico from Guijuelo in the Salamanca region. “Our Jamon was Iberico from the origin of Guijuelo. Guijuelo usually makes the softer hams,” explains Besay Gonzalez, General Manager of TXANTON, “very delicious but not as intense and strong like the ones from Extremadura or Jabugo. I noticed in Asia people really love more Guijuelo than the other origins… probably because it’s the less salty one.” It was such a hit! Even my son kept asking for more and my mother who never really eats meat had a few slices. It was truly irresistible. And nothing can be better than having it expertly hand sliced in front of you as you eat. It keeps the flavors fresh and hasn’t had time to dry. It’s really the best way to have it. (Although I had taken home a few slices and the next morning laid it ceremoniously on top of toasted crusty bread laced with olive oil and rubbed with garlic and a tomato… breakfast of champions!)

TXANTON will be offering 16 different variations of Jamon but Besay elaborates that “normally the jamones in Spain are 3 types: Jamon Serrano made with white pig bred, Jamon Iberico made with iberico pig breed and Jamon Iberico Bellota made with iberico pig as well but raised on acorns.” They will have the three types and from all four known Jamon producing regions. “We are looking to please all jamon lovers in the country and to growing the group of fans!” He disclosed to me that they are working on a Museo de Jamon – something really unique here in the country and I am looking forward to this. Apart from Jamon their store will be offering other gourmet specialities as well as a sister store that will focus on cigars. Looks like the Christmas season will truly be a festive one with these additions!

For more information please visit www.txanton.com.ph

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