In case this wasn’t obvious already, I love LOVE LOVE charcuterie and cured meats. I even make my own sometimes, from bacon to pates or terrines to salted and smoked cuts. There is a simplicity and an art form in meats that have been handled this way for centuries the world over. Every culture has a way of preserving and curing food and many of these traditions endure to this day. I find that, as far as food preparations and consumption go, charcuterie/ embutidos/ salumeria, whichever the language you use to name it, in its many variations, is a way of connecting to the land and the different forms of life that sustain us.
In the Haarlemmerstraat 93 in Amsterdam, Ibericus has some of the best Spanish cured meats available in this city. Not only that but the people behind the counter are super friendly, multilingual (heard them serve customers in Dutch, Spanish and English) and knowledgeable about their products.
Cut by hand to order, they have at least a dozen different hams in as many price ranges. When I was there, the young man in charge took the time to explain the differences between them to customers. I thought this was great because the people who were purchasing the ham seemed to like the stuff but weren’t necessarily familiar with the intricacies of Spanish ham production. There is a reason for price variations between the more premium hams like Pata Negra (made from pigs that roam freely and are fed a diet of acorns) and the (still good but no Pata Negra) hams that are made with animals that eat generic feeds.
They also sell hams by the piece and it was difficult for me not to go and take a bite from the hanging legs and shoulders.
The lomo iberico was to die for. Sliced thin, with the right amount of marbled fat, cured to perfection and tasting like the best charcuterie should taste: rich, full, salty but not overpowering. I could have devoured a whole pig worth of this lomo.
At the end of October they released a collaboration with Patisserie Holtkamp, arguably one of the best croquette makers in The Netherlands. I might have to go and check out their new Iberico krokets. Spain and The Netherlands meeting at their best, not through byzantine 17th century wars but through food. I got to get a taste of that.
You can find Ibericus at the Haarlemmerstraat 93, 1013 EM Amsterdam. Check their Facebook page for regular updates.