Seriously, take a moment and feast your eyes ‘cause you likely won’t get to eat them. This picture was taken by my husband of a dish he prepared earlier this month just after he received North America’s first regular shipment of Jamón Ibérico. Along with the jamón there were samples of fresh Ibérico pork in the package to be used for the launch party. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will be seeing the fresh version of this coveted pork on menus anytime soon.
Truthfully, if I hadn’t had a chance to taste fresh Ibérico pork, I wouldn’t really care that it will be scarce. Although much of the grocery store pork available to Canadians is flavourless and bred to be so lean that cooking a tender, juicy chop is almost impossible, I can get some pretty good pork chops from small artisan farmers who raise specialty breeds such as Berkshire. But the Ibérico pork chop puts even these noble pigs to shame. So juicy and tender, each bite is a little taste of pork heaven. And don’t get me started on the ribs, which are so rich and tender they needed no par cooking at all before grilling! We prepared them with salt, pepper and then a squirt of lemon at the end and they were Divine.
Why won’t we see Ibérico pork chops and ribs on menus or in the butcher’s case at specialty grocers? Our federal government has made it virtually impossible for businesses to bring fresh Ibérico pork into Canada by placing a 100% duty on this meat to protect our Canadian pork industry. Pity.
Is it wrong that I crave and lament the lack of a delicious food that has to be shipped from around the world? Is there ever a time when a crazy number of food miles are just worth the incomparable taste? Hard to say when the taste of Ibérico chops is still such a vivid memory.