Best beverage to pair with Iberian ham?
Without a doubt, the pairing of Iberian ham can make a big difference in the dining experience. This is why it is very important to know which is the best beverage to accompany Iberian ham.
Red wines have always been the traditional accompaniment to this ham; however, there are other beverages that can be excellent to help elevate the experience of a good piece of ham.
Although this type of ham goes well on its own, when it comes to choosing an accompaniment, it is best to do it the right way.
Types of pairing
The choice of a good drink to accompany Iberian ham will depend to a great extent on what we want to achieve. For this reason, there are two types of pairing that can be achieved:
When looking for a pairing of this type, the idea is to select a type of beverage that will help cleanse the palate after each bite. This type of combination will make us taste the flavor of each slice as if we were tasting it for the first time.
It is called contrasting because the selected beverages do not conflict with the flavors of the ham, but help diners to distinguish them in each bite.
The wines used for this type of pairing are usually cava and white wines.
Pairing by accompaniment
This type of pairing seeks to fuse the flavors of the beverage with those of the ham, thus achieving a perfect harmony.
What happens in this type of pairing is that the flavor of the beverage is combined with the flavor of the ham to create a single experience.
What is the best drink to accompany Iberian ham?
One of the best things about Iberian ham is that it can be accompanied by a variety of drinks, each of which will provide us with a different experience.
Depending on the type of Iberian ham we are going to taste and the type of pairing we want to achieve, we will be able to find an ideal drink.
In general, it is recommended that this ham be accompanied by nationally produced beverages, as these will achieve the best harmony.
Generous wines. “Fino” and Manzanilla. Perfect to accompany Iberian ham.
This type of wine goes very well with Iberian ham, both cebo and acorn-fed. Traditionally it has been customary to pair Iberian ham with red wines, however, wines such as “fino” and manzanilla can also be a great pairing.
The idea behind this choice is to make an accompaniment pairing. Wines of this type have not invasive flavors, so they will allow you to enjoy the flavor of the cured ham in its entirety.
Both manzanilla and “fino”, should be aged for their flavors to be more established. We should avoid including very young or fruity wines whose flavors may be too strong and not combine well with the ham.
Red wine. Perfect to accompany a good Iberian ham
If what is preferred is a red wine to accompany Iberian ham, there are some things to keep in mind.
The taste of red wine compared to white wines is much more intense. This characteristic can make it difficult to appreciate the flavors of the ham when used as an accompaniment.
If we choose a red wine, we will be making a contrasting pairing, so it is important that for a better experience we let some time pass between the sip of wine and the bite of ham. This way we can enjoy the flavors separately. Here is a great option:
Cava. Another great accompaniment to Iberian ham
Cava can be another good option to accompany our Iberian ham, especially if we are looking for a contrasting pairing. The sparkling quality of this wine can be a great help to highlight the flavors and textures of a good ham.
The ideal cava to accompany Iberian ham should be one that is not sweet and has been aged for a good period of time. This is especially important if what you are looking for is an acorn-fed Iberian ham. In this case, the drier the better. Another appropriate option:
Although this type of wine are not ideal companions, this does not mean that there are no options to use them and achieve a good pairing with our piece.
What is essential is the selection process of the young wine. The best option will be a fresher wine that can help contrast with the more intense flavor of the ham.
When choosing a young wine, we should be careful with those that have more weight and body, because they will not usually be a good accompaniment due to the fact that their intense fruit flavors will fight with those of the ham.
Champagne can be an excellent accompaniment. Depending on the type, this bubbly drink can be the ideal companion for pairing less or more cured hams.
Its mild flavor can be ideal to bring out its intensity. But for the combination to be even better, the ham should be presented in very thin slices that melt in the mouth.
For a well-cured ham, you can choose a white fruit champagne that is fresh and pure. While for a less cured piece, one that contains mineral tones.
Preferably all champagnes to accompany Iberian ham should have fine bubbles and more subtle flavors. Again I recommend something like this:
Although the vast majority of Spaniards enjoy a good wine, the truth is that beer can be perfect to accompany Iberian ham, because of the combination of the bitterness of the beer and the texture of the ham.