The making of
The making of

 All about Jambon the Bayonne > The making of

Salting - like the winter chill
The making of 1

Whole fresh hams are rubbed with salt from salt workings in the Adour river basin. They are then covered with a thick layer of salt and put in the salting tub.

Resting - in the pantry
The making of 2

The hams are hung in a resting chamber, known as a "souillarde" (regional term for a back kitchen), which allows winter conditions to be imitated, drying the hams at a low temperature.

Drying - hung from a beam
The making of 3

The hams are placed in drying chambers where they start a long maturation process, which will ensure the best possible favour, aromas ad the soft melting texture of the finished ham.

Pannage - sealing in the flavour
The making of 4

Pannage is a process in which a mixture of lard and flour is applied to the exposed muscle tissue of the ham. It moderates the rate at which the ham dries through the long maturation period.

Maturing - the time needed to finish a ham
The making of 5

It is the final stage, where the ham will acquire all its qualities and reveal its personality: A sweet and balanced flavour, salted with a light hand; a delicate aroma as well as its characteristic red/pink colour.

Probe testing - before tasting
The making of 6

The hams are first judged by expert "noses" who will use a probe on the hams to grade them and define their taste qualities. It takes an average of nine to ten months to make a Bayonne ham with a minimum of seven months.

The Bayonne seal
The making of 7

Finally the "Bayonne" seal, carrying the Basque cross or "Lauburu" will be applied with a hot branding iron to all the Bayonne hams that have met the selection requirements at every stage.

The making of 8
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