Budding chefs keen to improve their butchery skills can master the art of carving jamón the Spanish way at masterclasses organised by Borough Market’s Brindisa – the purveyor of Spanish delicacies established by Monika Linton 30 years ago. Brindisa’s cortadores de jamón (its expert carvers) will take groups of 12 guests on an epicurean journey – guiding them through the regional hams of Spain with hands-on carving experience. The classes are held at its shop on April 24, May 1 and 22, June 5 and 19 and July 3, 24 or 31 (priced £75 per person).
Each session will provide an insight into the history of the Spanish jamón, as guests sample a variety of hams paired with regional wines. “The Ibérico breed has a history that is 3,000 years old,” says Brindisa’s head of product training, James Robinson. “When the Phoenicians arrived in Spain, they brought domesticated pigs with them. The Ibérico pig is a cross-breed of a domestic pig and a boar.”
Those keen to carve will be set to work on a whole jamón leg under the guidance of a tallador de jamón – beginning with a Jamón Serrano, the dry-cured ham considered a national treasure in Spain. As apprentices sharpen their skills they will have the opportunity to taste three varieties of Ibérico jamón including the prized Jamón de Bellota – produced from acorn foraging free-range pigs. Guests will leave the class with their own carved masterpiece.
“The tradition of carving jamón is an integral part of Spanish culture,” says Linton. “From communions to weddings there is always a leg of jamón on the table.” In fact, some graduates of the class may be tempted to take away a souvenir for the day in the shape of a Señorío Ibérico Bellota ham on a beechwood stand (normally £900, but with a 15 per cent discount on the night, and free delivery), which is cured for over three years. It will make for an impressive summer party centrepiece and be the opportunity to showcase a newly discovered talent.