After chatting over a glass of chilled cava, we all had a chance to carve our own slices of jamon under Chef Nacho del Campo's watchful eye and, as predicted, I was embarrasingly bad at it. (Let's just say that I definitely shouldn't quit my day job in publishing to become a professional jamon carver ... that is, unless I felt like, super passionate about it or something.)
It was really challenging to achieve the perfect, wafer-thin slices that Chef Nacho deftly produced, despite his insistence that I simply, "lightly drag the knife through with a back and forth motion - it requires no effort!" My "slices" more resembled wedges, much to the amusement of the other chef at my elbow. "I'll have that one, thanks," he joked, as my face turned red.
Eventually, I received a helping hand (literally) by Chef Nacho ... massive fail. But it was interesting to learn all about the different cuts and areas of the leg, as well as how the pigs are bred and which regions of Spain they come from. We also received a quick lesson about the difference between Italian parma ham and Spanish jamon (hint: they are not the same!).
During the evening, we sampled four delicious different types of ham:
- Jamon Teruel DO (aged for 20 months), a white ham
- Jamon Iberico Cebo (aged for 24 months), the ham you see me carving above
- Jamon Iberico Bellota Etiqueta Roja (aged for 32 months), a ham with a red label
- Jamon Iberico Bellota Etiqueta Negra, Cinco Jotas (aged for 36 months), the "Rolls Royce" of hams, which carries a black label
While others took turns carving the jamon, the rest of us grazed on delicious tapas like chipirones a la andaluza (the most delicious baby squid served with aioli and lemon), padron peppers, and pan con tomate (my personal favorite: crispy bread, garlic, tomato pimenton, and EVOO).
Might not be the ideal event for vegetarians and vegans (try the delicious vegetarian tapas options instead!), but for anyone who's a jamon fan, I think the masterclass would make a terrific present. I'm already thinking of treating my dad to this when he comes over for Christmas!
Huge thanks to Zomato and Camino Bankside for hosting me at this awesome event! Jamon-carving masterclasses with Chef Nacho del Campo are available to book at £30 per person. For more details, including instructions on how to book, visit Camino Bankside's website here.