This is the remnants of a truly decadent ham party. Some colleagues of mine were celebrating over the holidays and one of them flew in from Spain with an entire leg of Iberico ham. This is the fabled ham - from black foot pigs fattened on acorns for the last few months of the lives. Converted from Euros, it cost him over $3K.But I missed that party. Friends being friends, however, they saved me the bone. It actually worked out very well; I loaned them my ham-carving stand and they returned it with the leftovers. The ham tasted intensely porky and umami-esque...with an odd peanut flavor to the meat. I'm guessing that's from the diet of acorns, but it was certainly unexpected on my end. After I nicked and scratched out as much meat as possible from the bone, I cut off the shank and made what may be the most expensive pot of ham and black beans ever.
But as I was slicing and nibbling, I was amazed at the number of tags, brands, tattoos, and seals affixed to this ham. Everything was there, from producer to region, to the months salted, aged, etc. I don't think my passport even has this much identification. I suppose before you shell out three large for a pig leg, you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth.(As one more aside, I also don't understand why they pulled off the back toenails, yet left the front nails on...you'd think they'd do it all-or-nothing.)