7 Culinary Wonders: Jamón & Paella

There is a great Spanish saying that goes “Pan, vino y carne… crían buena sangre”, meaning “Bread, wine and meat, make for great health”. This mantra couldn’t be more aligned with our love affair here at Handwritten, for excellent food and wine. As allocation members know, our boutique winery concept is centered on sharing intimate culinary experiences featuring Napa’s finest high end cabernet sauvignon. Our upcoming installment of Handwritten’s Culinary Wonders quest shines the spotlight on some Spain’s most prestigious delicacies. Here’s a short prelude ahead of our upcoming LIVE event, celebrating two iconic dishes from the Iberian Peninsula.

For the next in our series of culinary wonders we travel to the Iberian peninsula to experience the magic of cured pork and the festive gathering of an authentic Spanish Paella. Travel the world and there’s few food items, that give the same fuzzy feelings as these two Spanish delicacies. Hungry to dive deep into what defines these culinary treasures?

What is the difference between Jamón and Prosciutto?

‘Jamón Ibérico de Bellota’ is the full name for the prized delicacy. Jamón refers to the hind leg of the pig and Ibérico is the particular species of pig native to the Iberian Peninsula. Prosciutto typically comes from a wider range of pigs – or even boars – who have a broad, less restrictive diet than the discerning, Bellota-loving swines of Spain.

Bellota refers to acorns, which is the Ibérico pigs source themselves when foraging in the ancient oak forests of Spain, known as the ‘Dehesa’. These legs are cured with artisan salt and left to hang for around 4 years, gradually losing moisture and gaining complex flavors along the way, in the same way as our high end cabernet sauvignon. Ultimately, we are left with something sweet, not too salty and a little nutty in flavor with fat that melts on the palate and a tender chew to the hand sliced meat. Hungry yet?

Traditional Spanish Paella

Paella, which originally comes from Valencia in Eastern Spain, comes from humble beginnings and may vary by recipe, one family to the next. Did you know that ‘La Paella’ refers to the cooking pan itself and not necessarily the dish. The most traditional ingredients incorporate rice and meat and contrary to modern recipes, did not contain seafood.

Originally made by field workers and cooked over an open fire, typically made with slow simmered Saffron rice, plus whatever was on hand. Recipes vary by region but mix chicken, rabbit, sausage, snails and beans. One of the most social meals in the world, Paella brings people together to celebrate the natural bounty of the earth and like many humble peasant dishes is very tasty indeed.

While we would love to bring our much-missed members and friends together at our boutique winery in Yountville, we’ll be creating the next best thing. Together with your help, we want this to be largest virtual feast of charcuterie and paella across the country. Join your host Philip O’Conor on Sunday, June 27th at 5pm PST for this delicious epicurean experience. Reserve your spot online by clicking here!