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Pata Negra, Porco Preto, Jamón Ibérico, Prosciutto, Presunto... What is the difference?

When people talk about dry-cured ham, they often refer to it with one of the above names. So what is the difference?

First of all the names refer to different countries and languages:

  • Jamón is from Spain
  • Prosciutto is from Italy and
  • Presunto is from Portugal.

The products behind these names have some things in common:

  • They are all hams
  • They are all salted and dry-cured
  • They are all typical gourmet products from specific districts

Iberian black pigs

The spanish + portuguese hams come from a special race of pigs called Iberian Black Pigs. In spanish it is called Pata Negra, in Portuguese Porco Preto or Raça Alentejana .

This type of pig is raised on the large fields of holm oak trees. They feed mainly on bolota (a type of sweet acorn), wild herbs and roots they find betwen the oak trees. This diet gives them the famous 'nutty' taste and smell.

Now a bit about classifications....

  • Bellotta/Bolota:
    The ham from Iberian black pigs that have been raised in the open and lived mainly on the above diet, have the right to be called Pata Negra Bellota (Spain) or Porco Preto Bolota (Portugal). They are typically cured for 18-36 months.

    The finest ones have fed only on this diet and are cured for at least 36 months are called Gran reserva.
  • DOP (Denominação de origem protegida, in english: protected designation of origin) is an EU scheme to protect regional and traitional specialities. This law (enforced within the EU and being gradually expanded internationally via bilateral agreements between the EU and non-EU countries) ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce. 


Our presuntos
The presuntos on Taste of Portugal all come from the village of Barrancos in the Alentejo region - the only place protected by the DOP scheme.

We have hams that are cured from 20 to 36 months.