Cinco Jotas sets up the GastroTour, with dishes in 11 restaurants that teach New Yorkers the versatility of Iberian ham beyond just portions
It has been three decades since the United States formally authorized the legal entry of Iberian Ham in the country and 13 years since it began to be fully commercialized. Since then, the product has been finding a niche in stores and homes, where it is disbursed a price per kilo that roughly doubles what is paid in Spain, and also in restaurants, where it predominates in the form of a portion. Its potential and versatility, however, make ham for much more, and proving it to New Yorkers is the goal of GastroTour, an initiative in which Cinco Jotas has partnered from this Thursday until the 21st with 11 chefs in New York to offer dishes made with their 100% acorn-fed Iberico.
Last year, the experience that originated in London in 2018 was tried in New York, but the pandemic frustrated it. Now that vaccination is widespread and citizens and visitors are once again populating the premises, it is tested again. AND New York, with dishes that do not exceed 35 dollars, gets jabugo.
In some cases, as in the tripe with ‘uni’ (sea urchin) and ham that Nicolás López has devised and that is the proposal that can be tasted in the restaurant Mercado Little Spain by José Andrés, there is risk. On Oliva, the restaurant that Franklin Becker recently opened in a new complex with which Columbia University promises to revitalize an area of Harlem that until now was a gastronomic wasteland, from the bone to the fat of the Iberian meat they have been part of the preparation of the garlic sausage with lentils and romesco. And in the honeyed rice with red prawns and ham that Jonathan Melendez has added to the Casa Mono menu, the tradition is savored.
Casa Mono is not the only Michelin star on this route that delves into the aromas, textures and flavors of the Iberian and elevates them to luxury on the palate. In Daniel, by Boulud, ham meets cod, while in Gabriel Kuether appears with mussels. Meanwhile, in Ernesto’s, one of the restaurants that ‘The New York Times’ has chosen among the 50 best in the whole country in this 2021, joins a “open” omelette with truffles, and in Tomiño to a lobster cannelloni.
As explained in a presentation and tasting for the media by Joseba Castaños, the Bilbao native who for the last five years has been the area director of Cinco Jotas for the United States, one of the main international markets for the company together with China, the main idea behind the GastroTour is to help New Yorkers expand their horizons regarding ham. And it is about expanding because the product has already made a space not only in the city, but in the US.
Although with the pandemic and the closure of restaurants that it implied, there was a drop in sales in the country, these have recovered to levels that are on the way to exceed those of 2019. And although the company is also being affected by problems in the supply chain that hit all transnational trade globally, a container is about to arrive at the port of Virginia. It only remains to download it. And begin to distribute the gastronomic luxury.
Spain, ‘The richest country in the world’
It is not just ham that is sold in the United States. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the ICEX of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism launch the ‘The richest country in the world’ campaign, which promotes the quality and diversity of Spanish food.
The presentation of this campaign, in which in the US $ 1.5 million will be invested to hire advertisements in audiovisual and digital media, will be held this Monday at Mercado Little Spain, José Andrés’ New York restaurant, where he also This year’s edition of the Spain’s Great Match, the most important promotion activity for Spanish wines in the US.