Cartagena and Jamon Iberico

First stop on our 3-City-Spain voyage was at the peaceful city of Cartagena. Our target place for the trip was the Paseo Mediterraneo, a nearest mall to go shopping when in Cartagena.

Budget watch :

$30 Taxi Service/ 5 person = $6×2 Back and forth = USD 12

Shopping = 75 USD

(The conversion gives you a little bit of a disadvantage but you got no choice! Haha)

Also this is the place where we found a good supply of Jamon Iberico. It has been our favorite appetizer on board since coming into Spain. It’s a cured ham made from black Iberian pig. An appetizer by design but Jhudiel and I usually fry thin slices for midnight food trip. We’ve thrown away our stickler on the diet plans because Capt. Caron requested a purchase of this ham worth $200 for crew consumption on board.

Curious of how it’s made and why it’s quite expensive, I later discovered these tid bits of information.

• Jamon Iberico is usually produced in Portugal and Spain.

•It is also known as Pata Negra and usually take 12 months the least and could take four years to cure.

• It should be made out of meat from black Iberian pig only or at least 50 percent crossbred.

The process of producing this salty and very tasty meat takes a long process to produce. Let me give you a short preview.

Its authentic and native approach to preparation of this ham speaks a lot of tradition and ways of living.

After weaning, (when piglets are free to eat other foods other than their mother’s milk) Iberian pigs are fed barley and maize for weeks. They are later then allowed to roam at farm pasture to consume grass, roots, and herbs. Come slaughter time, their diet will be strictly restricted to olives and acorns to ensure the quality of their meat upon curing. Once slaughtered and ready, they are salted and left for weeks. After that the Iberian Ham will be rinsed and dry and left for 4-6 weeks. Curing time take around 12 months up to 4 years.

Prices vary depending on the weight, but it’s roughly 6 Euro per kilo as per mall super market price.

The saltiness is really enticing and the lean red meat gives you nothing but guilty cravings. The ready to eat thin cold cut is very good on salad or partnered with relaxing wine.

Having a taste of this Jamon Iberico is like taking a glimpse of how the culture of the place is preserved. In Spain, its authentic and native approach to preparation of this ham speaks a lot of tradition and ways of living.

I always say this when I go places, ”If you want to know the people and their culture, try their food.”

Shoreleave

We spent a day shopping around the mall, we were five in our group and it took as the day to finish all the errands and personal shopping. Plus points for the free wifi, there were no dull moments while lining up at the cashier.

Money Exhange Options

We dropped by a local money changer before we head out to the mall, that’s additional charges for the taxi cab. There’s no available money changer at the Paseo Mediterraneo but my comrade Jinkiss was able to withdraw Euro via ATM from his BDO USD card, try this option if you can, it’s hassle free and very convenient.

We’re expecting two more cities to visit while in Spain. Catch up over there!

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