SEGREDOS

1st Secret: Alentejo Pig Breed

The Alentejo Breed is a descendent of the sus mediterraneus wild boar from the south, deriving from Iberian or Roman lineage.

The Alentejo Breed is a descendent of the sus mediterraneus wild boar from the south, deriving from Iberian or Roman lineage.
Due to its genetic and inexistence of crossings with other breeds, it registers a greater capacity of the infiltration of intramuscular fat.
This explains the marble-like veins that give the meat its unique greasiness and texture,
as well as an unmistakable taste and aroma.
Historically preserved in Portugal, the Alentejo Breed is a unique and valued breed throughout the world and it is recognised for its authenticity.

2nd Secret: The Alentejano Montado and the Acorn

The Alentejo Pig Breed grazes in total freedom in the cork and holm oaks from 18 to 24 months.

In 27 A.D., the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula was divided into two different areas, Baetica and Lusitania and, little by little, the Mediterranean Grove resulted in Cork oak and Holm oaks.
Portugal therefore has exceptional conditions for the rearing of the Alentejo Pig:
• Total surface area of Cork oak and
Holm oak forests in Portugal: 1,125,000 ha
The Alentejo Pig Breed grazes in total freedom in the cork and holm oaks from 18 to 24 months, in extensive farming conditions.
Runs 2 to 3 ha per day searching for available food – acorn and pasture.
During the Acorn Season “Montanheira” (November to March) feeds mainly on acorns – 7 to 10 kg per day representing a daily weight increase of 1 kg – until reaches 160Kg.
Rich in oleic acid, the acorn is responsible for the fat that melts in the mouth and the unmistakable aromas and tastes.

3rd Secret: Barranco's Microclimate

The small town of Barrancos, located on the top of the western edge of Serra Morena, with a high altitude, is characterized by its Mediterranean microclimate.

The small town of Barrancos, located on the top of the western edge of Serra Morena, with a high altitude, is characterized by its Mediterranean microclimate, with winds blowing from the northwest (NW) and west (W), reaching a maximum speed of 60km/h;
With an annual relative humidity of 70%, the maximum temperatures reached in July and August are between 38-40 °C and the minimum registered in December and January are between 3-5 ºC minimum;
The pure and fresh air and the natural climatic conditions are fundamental in the curing process of the Ham, which occurs slowly and naturally, as opposed to other products that are cured in smoke houses.

4th Secret: Natural Curing

The winds that circulate through the windows and the low temperatures from 3 ° to 5 ° C, favor the dehydration and drying on the upper floor of the drying room.

The end of the winter and beginning of spring is the ideal moment to start the natural drying of Barrancos Cured Ham P.D.O.
The winds that circulate through the windows and the low temperatures from 3 ° to 5 °C, favor the dehydration and drying on the upper floor of the drying room.
The pieces rest until the end of Summer and due to the high temperatures of between 38º and 40 ºC they gradually begin to sweat, that’s when the oleic acid infiltrates into the muscular fibres, giving the meat its characteristic aroma.
Without any human intervention, the time of the drying is variable. Time and patience do the rest.