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Ham from the Vendée
Ham from the Vendée

Flavors of the Vendée

 

Cured with Noirmoutier salt, rubbed with plum or pear eau-de-vie and generously seasoned with wild herbs, ham from France's Vendée region takes pride of place on many local tables. 

Even the Gauls were familiar with the technique for making ham. It is said that the Roman occupiers learned the secret on the Atlantic coast, and spread it throughout their travels. In the old days, every farm had numerous pigs that provided peasants with salted meat for the winter in various forms: sausages, rillettes, ham, etc.

As in many regions, the people of Vendée used salt to preserve pork, but because of the high local humidity due to their closeness to the ocean, salt alone wasn't enough to conserve the meat. Having vines at their disposal, from which they produced eau-de-vie, they decided to soak the meat in alcohol as well, since it is an excellent preservative. Then, to temper the strong flavor of the liquor, they rubbed the ham with spices.

 

 
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