One my favorite “embutidos” or cured meats in Spain is Lomo Embuchado, or cured pork loin. Don’t tell anyone but I like lomo almost more than cured iberian ham, or jamon. If I have both sitting in front of me the lomo dissappears a bit faster. A few months ago when I was with my boyfriend visiting his parents in northern Spain they served lomo along with an apertif before lunch. They announced that this “lomo” was from the Denominacion de Origin of Guijuelo, which is acclaimed around the world for its highest of quality Iberian hams. The lomo was exquisite, and as I enjoyed the compelx flavors of this beautifully marbled iberian lomo I soon managed to have everyone laughing at me when I attempted to pronounce Guijuelo. Its supposed to be “Gee-HWAY-low” but I forgot that and said something like ”Gwee-hell-ow”. You try it! I am constantly reminded of this slip and my good-natured Spanish family has now taken to prouncing it my way. They have made such a joke of it, now I sometimes forget which way was right. But least I know what to look for at the market!
Guijuelo, known locally as the ”cradle of Iberian ham,” is a town of around 10,000 people, located in the southeast of the province of Salamanca, about 3 hours west of Madrid. It is the center of the Denminacion de Origen of Guijuelo and its producers are prize winners known for their excellent quality and the artisinal nature in which the hams are produced. At one thousand meters above sea level, the climate is optimal for the curing of hams during the cold winters and mild summers. Guijuelo’s most famous resident producer, Joselito, who has recieved nothing but the highest of worldwide critical acclaim, simply announces that their hams are “The Best Jamon in the World.” Try it and you will most likely agree. Austrialians can now rejoice for it has been announced that Joselito hams have received approval for import. I have not been able to find any information about the current status of if any Guijuelo hams are avaliable in the US. (might be a good time to make a trip to Spain!)
If you visit the town of Guijuelo one of my Madrileno friends highly recommends eating at an award-winning Guijuelo restaurant, La Barbacoa de la Amistad. The logo, a friendly pig with the body of a prawn, claims that you will be served the best “seafood” from the pigsty.
Barbacoa La Amistad / Calle Tedo de la Feria, 8 / Guijuelo (Salamanca) 37770/ Tel. 923580402 / GPS coordinates +40° 33′ 35.87″, -5° 39′ 59.69″