If you’ve ever tried to carve your own jamón, you’ll know that producing those paper thin slices of delicious Spanish pork is no easy task. We got a few tips from Jose Sol, the Spanish Ham Master himself
So, what is Spanish Ham Master?
We’re a company based in Marlborough and London, specialising in the art of carving jamón (Spanish ham). Founded in 2011, we’ve travelled around the world demonstrating our carving talents and training top chefs how to recreate jamón culture in their own kitchens and restaurants.
When did you start to trade in UK?
It was almost seven years ago, when I came here as a sales manager of a Spanish ham company. The financial crisis ended the project prematurely, but my family were happy here in the UK, so we stayed and Spanish Ham Master was born.
Are we seeing more Spanish ham in the UK?
I’m proud to say that jamón is becoming very popular in all kinds of eateries, not just Spanish restaurants. We’re working with lots of pubs and restaurants of varying cuisines. Jamón is no longer confined to a small cluster of specialist places, you can find great Spanish ham at traditional pubs which means we’re doing a good job promoting authentic jamón culture.
Is there more to jamón than charcuterie?
Yes, for sure. In Spain we have different kinds of jamón, from the famous jamón serrano to the exclusive jamón 100% pure Iberian known as pata negra. Jamón can be served as a starter, a main meal or even breakfast, we work with lots of different recipes and can give expert advice on which type of ham will work best with a menu. We work very closely with chefs to find inventive ways to serve this beautiful product.
What is the perfect pairing with jamón?
This is a good question. If we speak about wines, the perfect pairing is always with Manzanilla (sherry), but after that I can say you can enjoy jamón with everything. Red wine, a cold beer, the most important thing is that the jamón has to be carved properly. The slice has to be very thin, no thicker than a credit card.
If we’re talking about food, I love jamón with the traditional ‘picos’ (bread sticks) from Seville, but I also love to add it to lentils stews or mixed with some vegetables.
What’s the secret to carving jamón?
There is no secret, it’s a question of practice and good training. You just need to know where the bones are, try to carve as thinly as possible and work parallel to the main bone.
At Spanish Ham Master we train chefs and restaurant staff across the world the art of carving. We also host the annual Jamón Business Professional Training Day with the Spanish embassy. It’s a great experience where chefs receive a full diploma at the end of the one day course.
Favourite weekend breakfast?
One of my favourite breakfasts is eggs Ibéricos at Cafe Royal. Working with chef Armand Sablon, we designed a new take on the classic eggs benedict, swapping the salmon for slices of jamón ibérico – I love it. But at home the perfect breakfast with my family is toast with extra virgin olive oil and some jamón on top – try it, it’s simple but delicious.
Like to have a supper with?
It would be an honour to dine with Queen Elizabeth II and a great opportunity to serve our best jamón. She has an amazing history behind her and I really admire that, British people should be very proud of her.
Favourite place to eat out?
We recently left London and we moved to the countryside which has given us a fantastic opportunity to discover new places to eat out. I enjoy nothing more than exploring new dining pubs with my wife and two children, we love a great homemade pie or stew.