You’ve sampled Prosciutto di Parma, you’ve noshed on Jamon Iberico, but have you ever tried France’s version of the European salt-cured ham? Read on to learn more about this delicious delicacy and where you can find it.
Where is Bayonne Ham from?
Bayonne ham (or Jambon de Bayonne) is France’s most prized cured meat. A cousin of the more well known cured hams found in Italy (prosciutto) and Spain (jamon), Bayonne ham is a delicately delicious ingredient, well suited for your next charcuterie platter.
Bayonne ham, named for the Basque city of Bayonne, is exclusively French and protected by two designated governing boards, the Protected Geological Identification (PGI) and the Bayonne Ham Consortium. The reason for all the oversight is to preserve the artistry and history of this delicacy; legislation protects Bayonne ham’s recipe for future generations to enjoy.
What is Bayonne Ham
There are several rules that must be followed in order for a cured ham to be called a Bayonne ham. First, the aging and curing process must take place in the Basque region, an area located in the south west of France. Second, only a few select breeds of pig can be used. Third, Bayonne hams must be aged for a minimum of 9 month, and most Bayonne hams range in age from 9-12 months. Lastly, Bayonne hams must use a specific type of mountain salt, sourced from the Pyrenees. Once a ham producer has passed all of the necessary requirements, each ham is branded with the Bayonne cross, the ultimate sign of authenticity and quality. Try swapping out prosciutto for Bayonne ham in our Melon and Burrata Salad recipe or sub it in on our Salad Flatbreads.
Buying Bayonne Ham
Due to the regulations, Bayonne ham may be a little tricky to source in the United States. Only a few thousands of hams are made yearly, making it a hot ticket item when Bayonne ham becomes available. Some specialty grocers, those specializing in charcuterie, may supply Bayonne ham. It is best to call ahead to check in on their inventory. Alternatively, you can purchase Bayonne ham online. The Gourmet Food Store stocks Bayonne ham as well as D’Artagnan Foods.