The Dehesa | The Meadow

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It is well known that the most important factors in determining the degree of quality of a Spanish ham are the genes of the pig and the type of food provided during the fattening period. But these can only be understood on the basis of the place of origin of the best Spanish hams in the world.

We are referring to the Dehesa (Meadow).

The term La Dehesa refers to a very particular ecosystem, a large area of Southern Spain, characterized by savanna-like grassland and made up of an important quantity of trees such as Holm oak, and Cork oak trees which produce acorns and are considered a treasure by the Iberico product producers.

These are the element that give Iberico ham de bellota its identity - to such an extent that the acorn has become an symbol of a job well done.

The dehesa is a result of harmonious respect of nature on the part of its settlers, who have used for farming purposes and a source of highly valued resources such as cork and wood.

This balance has been maintained for centuries, on the basis of respect for the seasonal rhythms and to the preservation of resources for the future, making the dehesa today one of the most exemplary ecosystems in the world.

Both the holm oaks and the cork oak provide shade, acorns and the ideal microclimate for the pigs. The period of greatest production occurs between the months of September and February. This coupled with the fact that the temperatures are lower, makes it the best time when the majority of pigs come to scurry around the grass land.

During the rest of the year the pigs consume other resources such as grass, roots, and left over acorns, which are also beneficial to their nutrition.

You might be asking: why are acorn so important to obtain high quality Spanish hams? The answer is found in the high concentration of oleic acid found in acorns (up to 93%), in combination with the pig's disposition to accumulating fat. This fat will be infiltrated in the meat, an effect which is cherished by consumers.

Without a doubt the reason for Iberico ham's success is its juiciness and the unbeatable flavor the acorn provides, making Iberico ham de bellota a unique product.

We can affirm there is a perfect relationship between the pigs and the dehesa, which is why the conservation of it and good business practices will ensure sustainable production in the future.

Pigs from the Dehesa

Also worth noting are the ramification in regards to health issues. In fact, numerous scientific studies claim that Iberico pigs fed on acorns produce hams that are healthier than hams from white pigs. Iberico hams contain lower cholesterol and a high concentration of oleic acid which aids in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Iberico hams have a large amount of vitamins and minerals which makes them a healthy product to consume with a balanced diet. However it is important to remember that these parameters are only present in pigs fattened in the Dehesa and fed exclusively on acorns.

All these aspects are only possible thanks to the dehesa, which provides excellence on its treasures in the Iberico sector. For centuries pigs have been rigorously selected, raised on an open range, and feeding in the healthiest way possible to achieve the best condition for their butchering and the production of higher quality Iberico products.


  1. Types of Iberico Ham
  2. How to Consume Iberico Ham
  3. How to Cut Iberico Ham | Carve Iberico Ham
  4. How to Preserve and Store Iberico Ham
  5. Pairing of Iberico Ham
  6. Quality Laws for Iberico Ham | The New Law 2014
  7. The Dehesa | The Meadow
  8. DOP Protected Source of Origin of Iberico Ham
  9. Nutritional Properties of Acorn-fed Iberico Ham
  10. Recipes with Spanish Ham
  11. Differences Between Iberico Ham and Serrano Ham
  12. Differences Between Shoulder and Iberico ham
  13. Differences Between Iberico Ham and Iberico Shoulder
  14. Iberico Ham and its Competitors Around the World
  15. Nutritional Properties of Iberico Ham
  16. Protected Denominations of Origin of Iberico Ham
  17. Production Areas of Spanish Ham and Iberico Ham
  18. Spanish Ham – Machine cut or Hand cut
  19. Museums of Iberico Ham Worldwide
  20. Inside Secrets of Iberico Ham Tasting
  21. Tourist Trails for Iberico Ham Aficionados
  22. Acorn-fed Iberico ham and the ideal pairing
  23. The Production Process of Iberico Sausages
  24. History of Iberico Sausages
  25. VAT and Spanish Ham: Frequently Asked Questions
  26. Spanish Ham in Great Spanish Literature
  27. Curiosities of Iberico ham
  28. How to Store Your Serrano Ham
  29. Regulations and the Quality of Serrano Ham
  30. Preparation of Serrano Ham
  31. Denomination of Origin of Serrano Ham
  32. Nutritional Properties of Serrano Ham
  33. Recipes With Serrano Ham
  34. Types of Serrano Ham
  35. Pairing of Serrano Ham
  36. How to Consume Serrano Ham
  37. How to Cut Serrano Ham | Carve Serrano Ham
  38. All the Secrets of Pata Negra Ham Tasting
  39. Choosing a Good Ham Holder
  40. Pata Negra Ham and Pasture
  41. The secrets of pairing pata negra ham
  42. What is the best para negra ham?
  43. Is the term pata negra correct?
  44. How can you know which ham to buy?
  45. Why is good ham so expensive?
  46. How to buy ham from online stores
  47. Myths and Truths, Benefits and Prejudices of Ham
  48. Is Iberian ham fattening?
  49. What to do with the ham bone?
  50. Why do we usually hang ham?
  51. Ham and Pregnancy: Can Iberian ham be included in pregnant women’s diets?
  52. The Role of Ham in a Child’s Growth and Develeopment
  53. Tips for Preserving Ham
  54. What is ham shaping and why is it done?
  55. New Technologies and Ham – MRI in Ham Tasting – Spectral Images
  56. The Iberian Pig Begins to Migrate
  57. Cured Sausages: Origin, Composition and Classification
  58. Production of Hams and Pork Shoulder Hams
  59. Iberian Ham Tasting Guide
  60. Quality: Differential Elements Between Ham and Iberico Cured Meats

Ham carving manual

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