Skip to main content

Tabletop Travel: Jamón Ibérico + Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2013

I had been enviously watching Tiff and Matt's travels to Morocco, Portugal, and Spain in recent weeks. While they were in Barcelona, Tiff posted the following photos; and I commented that it'd be nice if they could carry home a leg. I was joking. I mean, I had only met Matt once before, and I'm not quite that rude and demanding. I would typically make sure we've met half a dozen times before I start asking for food favors!

photos by Tiffany
In any case, during the family white elephant gift exchange, when D's number came up, Tiff whispered 'Tell him to take the red one.' D-, grab the red bag. Thankfully, he did. Inside was a package of Jamón Ibérico, a bottle of Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2013, and a package of crackers. He wrinkled his nose at me and I hissed that I'd give him something in exchange.

Then, my Auntie Oly stole it from him. 'Tis the nature of the white elephant after all. Thankfully, I still had my number to go...and if I could steal it back, the gift would be 'dead'. Our family only allows two steals of a gift.

"Number 8," bellowed our family Santa, my Auntie Bec. Me, me, me! Auntie Oly, give me that Jamón! My aunt, grudgingly, handed it over and I might have done a little happy dance. Maybe.

On the Plate

When we got  home later that evening, I pulled the jamón out of the bag and asked Jake if he wanted to try it. "Really?" he asked. "It's almost 11 o'clock at night." Tomorrow, then?  Ha. So, last night, I opened up the package of jamón. I served it with dried apricots, dates, olives, crackers and some cheese...oh, and the wine. And I called it dinner.

If you are unfamiliar, Jamón Ibérico, it's a type of cured ham from the black Iberian pig that lives in the central and southern region of the Iberian Peninsula. According to Spain's denominación de origen regulations, Jamón must be made from a pure bred or at least 50% cross-bred black Iberian.

I could see it in a video clip that Tiff sent, but the leg had the characteristic pata negra, black hoof. That refers to the color of the pig's hoof; most pigs have lighter hooves, but the black Iberian breed has a black hoof.

And what makes the flavor so unique is that their diets are limited to rooting naturally for olives, chestnuts, and acorns as their slaughter approaches.The hams are salted and dried for two week, then rinsed and left to dry to another four to six weeks. Curing takes another twelve months, though some producers cure for up to forty-eight months.

Honestly, I didn't read the package before I tore into it and made our dinner board. But the fat was silky and the meat delicious. I'm so glad that they carried this back from Spain and that I ended up with it. Woohoo. Gracias, Tiff and Matt.

In the Bottle

Along with the delicious Jamón, my white elephant loot included a bottle of  Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2013. Back in July of this year, one of my wine groups explored and posted about Rioja wines. You can read my post: Robatayaki and Rioja Wines, the Perfect Summertime Party. During my research for that event, I learned that the 'reserva' designation means that the wine was aged for thirty-six months with at least twelve of those in oak barrels.

Campo Viejo has long been at the forefront of Rioja winemaking. And I read a mention that the estate has ties to winemaking all the way back to the Roman Empire, but I haven't been able to confirm that.

To the eye, this wine is a pale, clear garnet with flecks of gold at the edges. It has a great, complex nose that, to me, grew more floral as it sat. Jake thought it leaned more spicy than floral.

The first word that popped into my head as we drank and paired: savory. The second word was 'sparse.' The wine was thin and focused with firm tannins like green tea with bright acidity. This wine was a nice match for the jamón.


Popular posts from this blog

Caulibits Crni Rižoto (Croatian Black "Risotto") #Whole30

Last week, I participated in the Wine Pairing Weekend event 'New Year, New Wine." I paired Crni Rižoto with Dingac Vinarija’s Pelješac...and you can read my post: here . I was pouring a Croatian wine and decided to make a traditional Croatian dish. Every seafood restaurant in Croatia has a  Crni Rižoto  (black risotto) on its menu.  Crni Rižoto  is risotto dyed black with squid ink; I used cuttlefish ink for the same effect. However, since arborio rice is not Whole30 compliant, I made a version for myself that used caulibits instead of rice. Ingredients 1 C fish stock (or a combination of fish stock and vegetable stock) 1 T olive oil 1 medium shallots, peeled and minced 1 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 1/4 lb shrimp 1/4 lb squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings 1/4 lb scallops 1/4 lb clams, scrubbed 1/4 lb mussels, scrubbed 4 C caulibits, or chopped cauliflower 1 T fresh parsley, minced juice and zest from 1 organic lemon 1 t cuttlefish ink

Meyer Lemon Custard-Filled Matcha Turtles #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our  Pinterest board  right here. Links are also updated after each event on the  Bread Bakers home page .  We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Stacy of Food Lust People Love  is hosting and she wrote: "Your bread can be large, as in one big animal, or small - animal-shaped rolls. Use your imagination! Points for flavor and shape!" If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to Stacy at Here's the animal-shaped bread basket from the #BreadBakers... Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas from Karen's Kitchen Stories Bird Bread Rolls from Ambrosia Easter Bunny Buns from Cook with Renu Ham and Cheese Elephant Rolls from Food Lust People Love Hedgehog Bread from Making Mir

Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé #Winophiles

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at affordable wines from Burgundy.  Host Cindy of Grape Experiences wrote: "Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is known for its wines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir... as well as Aligote, Gamay, Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon in lesser quantities. Many of the well-known wines are quite expensive, but there are plenty of values to be found." Read her invitation here. And there won't be a Twitter chat for this event, so you will have to dive into the articles themselves to read about our pairings and findings. Here's the line-up... Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoys Domaine Chevillon Chezeaux Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, 2018 Paired with a Maple Pecan Chicken . Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares her love of Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé. Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick! explains why we should Look t