Pork perfection: Jamon Iberico from black pigs.
Jamón, or cured ham, is the most celebrated Spanish food product.
Legs of ham were traditionally salted and hung up to dry to preserve them through the long winter months.
Jamón Serrano (of the mountain) is the most common kind and comes from white pigs; the more expensive Jamón Iberico (pictured) comes from black pigs.
The best ham should be enjoyed in thin, melt-in-your-mouth slices on its own, with a little bread.
"Jamón is the staple of the Spanish table," says chef José Pizarro, the brains behind the celebrated José tapas bar and Pizarro restaurant in London.
"We eat it before we eat; its salty, acorn-laden taste is the perfect accompaniment to sherry and Cava, and it gets your juices flowing for the meal that is yet to come.
"It's brilliantly good value and a leg can last ages as long as you cover and store it properly. Look for 'waxy' fat: when you rub it, it should melt into your skin like candlewax."
Where to try? Museo del Jamón, Madrid
Museo del Jamon, Calle Gran Via 72, 28015 Madrid Spain;