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Para Articulos Web 1000x615impacto Y Conocimiento En Otras Culturas Del Jamon Iberico De Espana 1

Impact and knowledge on other cultures of Iberian ham from Spain

The jamón ibérico It is a typical product of Spain and is known throughout the world for its unique flavor and high quality. Iberian ham is produced from Iberian pigs fed with acorns, cereal and grass, which gives it its distinctive flavor.

Iberian ham is considered a luxury product and is highly valued in Spain and other territories, especially in Europe and Latin America. However, its high price may limit its accessibility for some consumers in other countries.

On this occasion, the ham cutter Jorge Mendez, tells us his experience as a ham cutter in Latin America (Guatemala, Colombia and Costa Rica) for Don Esteban Foods which imports Spanish products such as Iberian ham.

Now we move on to Jorge Mendez, ham cutter A Coruña, with more than 20 years of experience in the events and hospitality sector.

Tell us a little about who you are and why you dedicate yourself to the world of ham?

I am Jorge Méndez and I have been a chef by profession since 1998. Cooking, with time, went from being an obligation to being a passion and my specialization is cutting ham.
In 2003 I started working for the most emblematic brewery in the city, the Estrella de Galicia Brewery. There was a curious situation, the Iberian ham was offered on the menu in different dishes (portion, sandwich, Iberian plate, eggs with ham...) but its cut, instead of facing the public as is usual, was I did it in the kitchen as a matter of service (the waiters and managers had such a volume of work that they could not perform that task). Shortly after starting work, they told me one day: "a portion of ham has just arrived, do you dare to cut it?" to which I replied: «Of course!
And from that precise moment I had a crush on ham that lasts to this day.

How was the experience in Latin America?

Well positive in every way. The people are very open and welcoming. Since there is no language barrier, everything becomes easier, such as adapting to customs. We must forget about that serious nature that we sometimes have in Spain when dealing with customers, showing closeness, and being cheerful is essential to convince them that they have in front of them a unique product in the world.

We all know that in certain countries, problems can arise when exporting hams and other cured products.
What are the main obstacles that we can encounter in Latin America when exporting hams?

We can mainly distinguish three obstacles.
1- Tariffs and taxes:
These countries are very conservationist and in order to introduce foreign products you have to make an investment and export in large quantities to pay less taxes and have a competitive price. Curiously, I visited a store selling Spanish products in Guatemala and they had to buy hams at retail, because the prices were completely exorbitant.

2- Health regulations:
Unlike the European Union, in which we have common standards, in Latin America, each country has its own standards and they must be managed with the competent authorities of each state.

3- The cultural shock of Iberian ham in Latin America:
In many of these countries, cured products do not exist or have a tradition, and many people are reluctant to open up to the consumption of ham; it requires very constant "field work."
Thanks to producers and companies that began marketing this product more than 20 years ago, the process is becoming easier and this makes it a business opportunity for ham factories in Spain.

The next question is related to that third point that you mentioned, the culture shock. Tell us a little about the level of knowledge that the general population has about Iberian ham.

I divide them into two enormously differentiated groups:
Those who know ham and those who don't. I would say that the thing is around 50%.
Many know ham for various reasons (Spanish ancestors in the family, friends or relatives who emigrated, tourism...) and those who don't know it are fascinated when they try the product.
As I told them before tasting it for the first time, “get ready because it will change your life!”

And finally, do you have any other trips related to ham in the short term?

Well yes! We will soon be in Berlin from February 8 to 10 at the «Fruit Logística«, a fair that is held annually in which countries from all over the world participate exhibiting their products.

Thank you so much Jorge Méndez!

You are a genius and with your daily life cutting ham and telling about it on @vayajamones you are helping other ham cutters to pursue their dreams.

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