Wednesday, December 10, 2014

J is for Jambon

french village diaries advent calendar french food a to z jambon ham
French food alphabet advent calendar

Welcome to my French Food Alphabet Advent Calendar. Between now and Christmas Day I will be working my way through a selection of delicious food posts; some will be regional specialities, some are my personal favourite foods, some posts will include recipes, but all will be linked to French food and drink. I hope you enjoy your virtual tastings.

It’s the 10th December and J is for Jambon.

Jambon, or ham, is so much more than just a sandwich filling here in France, although there is something very delicious about a jambon beurre baguette where the butter is spread so thickly you can almost feel it sticking to your arteries as you eat it.

There are many regions of France that produce their own variations of cured ham including Bayonne in the Basque region, the Auvergne, the Ardeche and the Savoie. The origins of these fine gastronomic delights came from the simple need to preserve meats from spoiling in the days before freezers and fridges. The pork is preserved using salt and then left to dry or cure in specially controlled conditions for anywhere between 7 and 18 months. The flavour of the meat will increase with age and sliced thinly it makes a delicious starter. As we live in a rural area you can buy the linen ham sacks at our local supermarkets, perfect for those patient enough to try home cured ham.

It seems that it is not only the French who are connoisseurs of fine ham. Many years ago our neighbour told me that she was so pleased that our shy cats had been popping in for some company she got her husband to drive her to the supermarket on a Sunday morning to buy some ham (from the deli counter no less) as a little treat for them. Poppy is still spotted outside their house at the weekends waiting for morsels of jambon blanc from Pierrette.

If you have missed my previous advent posts you can catch up by clicking on the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I. Don’t forget to pop back tomorrow for the letter K, a sparkling aperatif.