As those at Carrasco say, eating ham is not just about the flavour, it’s an all-round sensory experience. This is exactly what is behind the 2nd Carrasco Ibérico Bread Challenge: to find a bread that is ideal for enhancing the myriad nuances of ham; a combination that shows off all the characteristics of these products and is not just second fiddle, but the perfect pairing. The six finalists must – now for the second year in a row – come up with an original bread recipe that they will have to defend before a judging panel at Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión this coming 14 January.

December 3, 2019

The 2nd Carrasco Ibérico Bread Challenge follows on from the search initiated at the past edition of Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión, won by Triticum. The project, headed by Xevi Remón and Marc Martí from Barcelona, won with its Coc(k) ibérica, a kind of focaccia with a touch of lactic acid to avoid masking the flavour of the ham. A bread that was crispy in texture and with a honeycombed crumb.

After searching all over the country, the finalists for this 2nd edition are: Anna Bellsolá from Baluard in Barcelona; Jesús Machí from Horno San Bartolomé in Valencia; Antonio Garrido from Panem in Madrid; Roberto Fernández from Crosta Ogitegia in Zalla, Vizcaya; Joaquín Marcos, who heads the Panadería Arapiles in Salamanca; and Nuria Escarpe and Silene Carvalho Da Rocha from Amasa in Majadahonda, Madrid. Experts who understand as much about bread as the Carrasco family understands about ham.

For this latest challenge, they must all submit an original bread recipe that is ideal for combining with Carrasco’s cured acorn-fed Iberico ham. It will be an excellent occasion to witness the perfect combination of bread and ham, as well as the achievement of a unique pairing to present to a new judging panel at Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión 2020.

The participants of this new edition will be able to perfect this pairing thanks to the information gleaned from the research paper La calidad del jamón ibérico se puede predecir (The quality of Ibérico ham can be predicted), written by the University of Salamanca together with the Regional Government of Castile-Leon and Carrasco Ibéricos. This paper offers a sophisticated ham-tasting chart with an assessment at whose core are 28 sensory parameters and targets based on aspect (marbling, colour, etc.), aroma (intensity, curing, etc.), flavour (sweetness, aftertaste, etc.), and texture (juiciness, density, etc.) that will be ranked on a scale of 0 to 9.

If there is something that sets Carrasco hams apart, it is how flavoursome they are, their slight ‘sweetness’ that has hint of toastiness, and their low salt content: all this ensures that every bite is full of flavour that is not overpowering, and that the texture is slowly diffused in the mouth. All qualities that uphold their premise of ‘those who know ham choose Carrasco’. An extraordinary product that is achieved thanks to key factors, such as their own breed of pig – the Carrasco breed. These animals roam free on hillsides in Extremadura and feed on acorns. The meticulous curing process takes place in special drying sheds in Guijuelo (Salamanca), where the wind from the Sierras of Gredos and Béjaris is cold and dry in winter and hot in the summer.



Tuesday 14 January

Time: 18:30 to 19:00

Place: Multi-purpose stage at Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión

About Carrasco Ibéricos
Carrasco Ibéricos: a company based in Guijuelo dedicated to making products derived from their ‘own breed’ of Iberian pig. It has been telling its story about the fascinating world of Ibérico products for over 120 years, as well as experimenting and achieving their own particular flavour of hams, ham shoulders, and charcuterie from acorn-fed pigs…products that make everyone’s mouth water.
A unique ham that is a deep cherry-red, has subtle notes of wood and acorns, is smooth-flavoured, silky, is low in salt, yet has a hint of sweetness, attributes that make it irresistible.