Basel – how far am I willing to go for a fantastic Pata Negra?
Basel Travel Blog› entry 137 of 354 › view all entries
My brother called me and said that the pata negra had arrived and was just outside Basel in one of his friends house in France just on the other side of Switzerland. My brother’s wife is Spanish and her father is in luxery food, so they had order a huge number of pata negra. It is a type of jamón, a cured ham produced only in Spain from the Black Iberian Pig, also called the cerdo negro or black pig, which is the only breed of pig that naturally seeks and eats mainly acorns.
The Black Iberian Pig lives primarily in the south and southwest parts of Spain, including the provinces of Salamanca, Ciudad Real, Cáceres, Badajoz, Seville, Córdoba and Huelva. As well as in the Southeast of Portugal (Barrancos), where it is referred to as Porco de Raca Alentejana.
Immediately after weaning the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. The pigs are then allowed to roam in pasture and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots, until the slaughtering time approaches. At that point the diet may be strictly limited to acorns for the best quality jamón ibérico.
I have always loved the Pata Negra and I know when I get it from her father it is the best that you can get. They had them stashed in France due the import regulation in Switzerland. I decided to drive down after work Friday afternoon, but I couldn’t leave before 18.00 because of some meetings. The weather was not best; it had started to snow, especially in the Ardennes which I had to pass on the way to Luxembourg and into France.
I arrived in Basel at 23.
Next morning we got up to and early start and did some shopping just outside Bern before returning to Basel where we had a good lunch at the Japanese Namamen restaurant. Given the cold we all had a wonderful and hot chicken soup.
After the shopping we went to the country side in France and picked up the Pata Negra. The snow started to get more intense here. The villages just on the French border are lovely. I have always adored the half-timbered houses and in this part of Alsace it is artwork. Many of the house ends are constructed in a way that you just have to stop up and look at them. We found the house of my brother’s friend which were a fantastic renovated farm dating back more than 120 years. We had a cup of coffee there and then I had to drive because I wanted to head back before the weather conditions would be worse. I left at 16.00 and I managed to get back with my Pata Negra in Brussels at 21.30 which I was quiet satisfied with.