at the Beginning, only to hear a voracious lip-smacking. Only then, the oak in the shadow of the black animals recognize the satisfied grunting on acorns and grasses. The farmers rave about this year. In the spring it rained a lot that autumn had been fabulous, mild and not too dry, acorns, and herbs were plentiful. Now, the green carpet grazed, had spread, at times, over the whole of Extremadura in the southwest of Spain, in summer blisteringly hot.

Hans-Christian Rößler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb, with its headquarters in Madrid.

F. A. Z.

The Dehesa de Porquera is located on the Portuguese border. On the fenced-in pasture, about 300 black pigs grow. “100 percent Iberico 100% Bellota,” says Jaime García Pascual. Ibérico is the race, and Bellota acorns, the pigs in the autumn to feed. Then you have to take correctly before they are slaughtered by the middle of December.

A whole Bellota ham will cost at least 300 Euro. For the highest quality customers to pay up to 500 Euro per kilogram. The price has its reason: Ibérico pigs need time and space and you are in the food picky. “The pigs on pasture are nine months old. Your ham will be in the year 2023,“ says Jaime García Pascual of the company Montesano, who runs this yard. Between 18 and 24 months, the animals are allowed to live. Other pigs to land much earlier in the slaughter house. Four years, it will take until the Bellota-grafted ham and gestated.

pig farmer in the Extremadura region of a winemaker: For Bellota ham is similar to a lot of patience necessary for good wine. “Is the Montanera well, is the meat good,” is one of the rules of thumb. Thus, at least two months of time the glans is meant to be fattening. Oak is not lacking in the sparsely populated Region between the Zafra and the border. The trees with spreading crowns at least 25 years, until you discard the first acorns. Frost and rain in the fall can lead to you numerous and are rich in nutrients, enough so that the animals start strong fat. Each Bellota pigs eat acorns in the pasture, around twelve kilograms. Daily you to load up to 900 grams and some more than 50 kilograms. In search of food the animals are on some days, up to 14 km on the road. To do this, you need a lot of outlet. Only when the fat at the end of the powerful leg and shoulder muscles by pulling, the typical grain and the special flavor.

A minority in the minority

The Bellota pigs are a minority in the minority. Around 29 million animals comprised the whole of the Spanish pig Population in the past year. 26 million of them in white domestic pigs, which are widely used in most of Europe. About three million of the Ibérico breed. Of them, only every tenth is a acorns fattened purebred Bellota-pork.

The foreign Hunger on Spanish pig meat is on the rise. In the past year, the Export brought in five billion euros. The greatest Ibérico-taker is Germany, even if the sales in Asia is growing. Especially before Christmas, in the super markets, the Pork loin is to buy anywhere; often together with the typical bracket, and a long, narrow knife. But “puro ibérico” is only a small part of the flesh that bears the name. The most Ibérico pigs are not purebred, but to a large extent with the stronger Duroc-pigs-crossed, coming from America – they breed faster and are sooner thick.