The province of Huelva, in western Andalusia, borders with Portugal and is washed by the Atlantic Ocean. A vacation in Huelva features the beach and good weather as staples thanks to the location. This province in southern Spain with 300 sunny days a year is not only renowned for the weather and beaches on the Costa de la Luz. Huelva is famous worldwide for its wonderful cured ham: the great Jabugo ham. This alone makes it well worth a visit.
One of the most rewarding things you can do when visiting the province of Huelva is to go on the Jabugo ham route. Jabugo is the capital of cured ham and cold cuts derived from the Iberian hog: different varieties of sausage, loin, morcones, etc.), and it is also plentiful in slaughterhouses, drying and cold cut manufacturing facilities. However, even though it draws all the attention as the home of the best cured ham, the town of Jabugo is not the only enclave specializing in its production.
Inland in the province of Huelva, the Sierra de Aracena (a mountain range) is a natural park that is renowned for a first rate food product: Iberian ham from acorn-fed hogs, with a quality that merits it the Designation of Origin Jabugo Ham. Those of you who are fond of this exquisite product and of food tourism in general will enjoy this route, which you can tailor to your taste through various visits. For starters you should stop by the Museo del Jamón, a museum where you can learn the essentials for identifying a good Iberian ham. Then you should visit a dehesa, the pasture lands where pure Iberian hogs roam freely feeding on acorns. After seeing the live specimens, then you should visit the ham-curing facilities. Besides a specific breed (the Iberian hog) and a specific natural environment (the dehesa or pasture lands), Iberian ham also relies on the wisdom of the manufacturer, which is something that is put into practice at the ham curing facilities.
To finish it off, the best thing is the ritual of cutting and trying the ham! This is my favorite part . One of the nicest experiences of the Jabugo Route is attending a ham cutting atelier. You’ll see that it is not at all easy. The slices must be short and very fine, to the point where you should be able to see the blade of the knife through them. It is very, very hard to do it like an expert. But it really doesn’t matter if you can’t get it right. The rewarding part is actually eating the ham, which you can do anyway!
What do you think? If you are fond of cured ham you’ll love this and if you haven’t tried it then you’d better not wait any longer!
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