Salt is a pantry favourite and cooking staple that evokes the essence of any dish. Used as a preserving agent, its multi-purposes encourage the aging, curing and pickling process for countless meat and relish recipes. You can’t escape salt! This mineral is everywhere! Find it in the sea, salt dunes and even on your kitchen table next to its friend, pepper – in a salt shaker. For salt lovers, there’s a prized ‘cure’ that will make you say “¡Olé!”
Along the street of Calle Mayor, in Madrid, you’ll locate an atypical museum that is home to a revered delicacy – ‘Jamón serrano’ and ‘Jamón ibérico’ (ham). Not to be missed, the ‘Museo del Jamón’ (museum of ham) offers bustling crowds sliced and shaved portions of numerous encased meats. Adequately seasoned and dissolving like butter, jamón remains to be the Spanish favourite. In fact, popularity for jamón will lead one to believe the only ‘white meat’ of choice, here, is hock-inspired. Far from being salt-happy, I still wanted to visit this madrileño delicatessen that literally hams up the capital.
Open to the public, this ‘museum’ feeds patrons’ mind and appetite. Supplied in abundance, these meat sculptures are noticeably hanging around for those whose Achilles heel is ham. “The trend is your friend,” as the saying goes, and you can easily engage in friendly conversation with locals where the topic of conversation is one in the same – everyone sees and thinks pink! And, if you can’t wait to taste a slice of melt-in-your-mouth jamón, do yourself a favour – ‘por favor’ – and ask for a ‘bocadillo’ (sandwich); it’s made at lightning speed and for immediate consumption.
Don’t dig pig – no worries! This eatery dually runs a deli counter and tapas bar, under the same establishment. Should you stay or should you go? It all depends on you, and your basic need – to eat! You can comfortably find yourself ordering chorizo or regional cheeses to take home, or retreat to the bar for a ‘cerveza’ (beer). The menu selection is vast and pricing reasonable. Delight in familiar options like prepared hamburgers and rotisserie chicken or try something with a Spanish flair, like paella. Adventurous or not, in your food selection, keep in mind that the meat museum gets busy. No surprise here, though, as this ‘charcutería’ (deli) has a “leg up” – with jamón – on the other guys. Finally, a place where eating like a…I meant to say, etiquettely ingesting is welcomed!
Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.