The Spanish are crazy about their ham, indeed walk into any reputable tapas bar in Spain and you are likely to be served a plate of cured ham which is usually accompanied by fresh bread and the all important extra virgin olive oil...
Serrano ham and beer
Accompaniments to Spanish vary from fresh vine tomatoes, salted almonds, the famous Manchego cheese from La Mancha and fruit to name but a few but what about a tipple? What goes best with Spanish ham? Here is a rough guide to enhancing the flavour of those wafer thin ham slices.
Imagine that hot summers day or Spanish holiday when a cold draught beer is just the thing! Spanish ham slices accompany the beer (and vice versa) very well indeed. In, fact Serrano ham tapas are some of the most frequently served and with beer being the most popular drink during the summer its a perfect match and can be seen being enjoyed at all times of day both inside and outside Spanish tapas bars.
- Red Wine:
A good red wine without doubt is a perfect partner for Spanish ham. Red wine compliments thinly sliced Serrano ham very well indeed. As with cheese a good red helps conjure a treat for the senses. Rioja or Ribera is popular but for this pairing any good red wine will do, no matter which region it is from or age. This combination also opens the door to invite olives and cheese into the equation, even a little olive oil. For those who enjoy stronger flavours try a deep bossy red with well cured Serrano ham, for Iberian acorn ham try and keep the wine fairly light to let the ham do the work.
- White wine:
White wine is a less obvious drink to be enjoyed with Serrano ham. In summer though a cool glass of white wine goes down well with slices of ham. Serrano ham salads for example are popular in the summer with white wine for a light lunch. The pair together do compliment each other; with the addition of some olives a real summer flavour can be produced. Young white Riojas work best.
We found these two Spanish specialities to be by far the most popular choice. Ice cold fino or manzanilla sherry wine goes with sliced Serrano ham like nothing else. The combination of flavours work so well that even after a good red wine it should be an easy decision for the future! Fino and manzanilla work well with the majority of Spanish cured meats, why not indulge and serve up some cured lomo tenderloin along side your Serrano ham with a drizzle of olive oil . . . perfection.
There are of course no hard and fast rules with what to drink with your Spanish ham, in Spain cured ham is so popular it would not really matter what your preferred tipple is, when the tapas arrive, well, they arrive! For the ham connoisseur and where flavour balance is important there are a host of red wines out there (not necessarily Spanish) which will add plenty of depth and for the purists . . . it simply has to be a good Fino sherry.