As Spanish Ham Goes Global, Will Spaniards Be Priced Out Of A Holiday Delicacy?

BILBAO, SPAIN—Of all the delicacies that Spaniards splurge on at the holidays, none is more sought after than the beloved jamón ibérico de bellota, ham produced from black-footed pigs that feed on acorns and that has of late become an international sensation.

At lavish lunches and dinners starting at Christmas Eve, running through the New Year, and ending at Three Kings’ Day (Epiphany) on January 6, dishes will alternate between lamb and suckling pig, between squid in black ink sauce and giant platters of shellfish. But the one constant at each sitting is a plate of dark pink jamón, nutty and tender and sliced perfectly, itself part of the art and the inspiration of not a few local cutting contests.

Looking for the perfect gift to impress? A leg of jamón has long been considered one of the most prestigious presents to offer a Spanish family this time of year.

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