Hams and shoulders included on Dehesa de Extremadura Designation of Origin hams and shoulders come from pigs which accomplish basic requirements established by the Regulation Council. However, hams come from pure iberian breed pigs or authorised crossbreeding by the Current legislation in force.
The Dehesa de Extremadura Designation of Origin certifies both origin and quality of iberian breed hams and shoulders, free-raised and fattened in pastures in Extremadura, and elaborates in natural cellars in the same area afterwards.
After the careful curing and raising process, DO Dehesa de Extremadura hams and shoulders, should accomplish a set of very specific physical and organoleptic features.
DO Dehesa de Extremadura hams and shoulders production area is extended all over Extremadura, in pastures placed in Cáceres and Badajoz. Pastures are formed by oaks, where pigs are feeds with acorns.
Elaboration area for DO Dehesa de Extremadura hams and shoulders is formed by 85 towns distributed as follows: 40 in Badajoz, and 45 in Caceres. Those towns are mainly placed in San Pedro Sierra, Montánchez Sierra, southern Gredos, Ibor-Villuercas and southwestern Badajoz.
In order to guarantee all the pieces included in DO Dehesa de Extremadura, Regulation Council of DO Dehesa de Extremadura realizes many controls during the production process.
- Ibérico Bellota hams: pigs which have only been feed with acorns and pastures.
- Ibérico Cebo de Campo hams: pigs which has been feed during its fattening phase with pastures, feeding and some acorns.
In order to verify we are actually buying a ham or shoulder with DO Dehesa de Extremadura certification, it is important to pay attention to the label. We will find a compulsory identification of DO Dehesa de Extremadura and identifying its category.
All the DO Dehesa de Extremadura hams and shoulders may be traded with bone, boneless, in pieces or sliced. An identification or label should always be in the packing in order to know its origin.
There are historical and gastronomic references about pigs from Extremadura. For example:
-Zoomorphic stone sculptures called "Verracos" (boar), very similar to pigs, dating between V and II century b.C., found in some towns in Extremadura.
- Charles V the Emperor favorite hams came from Montánchez (Cáceres).
-The informed existence of Fuero de Montánchez and its pasture in 1236, given to the acorns production for the cattle-raiser.
The Designation of Origin Dehesa de Extremadura has been created in 1990, motivated by the number of iberian pigs raised in Extremadura pastures but finally elaborated in other areas of Spain. In the same year, DO Dehesa de Extremadura Product Specifications document is created in 1990, and it is lately, in 1996, recognised by European Union.