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Spanish food: Cheese & Jamón

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It is not well known that Spain produces a large variety of excellent cheese originating from the country's different regions. Cheeses made from cow's, goats, and sheep's milk come in virtually every variety of texture and strength. Cheeses labeled 'curado' (meaning cured) are more aged and stronger.

Jamón (cured ham, similar to the italian Parma ham) is almost a religion in Spain. It comes in a huge range of qualities and prices. While cheapest varieties are very edible, the best jamón is almost a climax experience for an aficionado. Jamón should be properly cut (Spain has many competitions to determine the most skilled at this art) and eaten fairly soon after is has been sliced. Apart from its high price, one can recognize the more exquisite jamón by it's black hoof which comes from a particular breed of pig known as Ibérico or Pata Negra, fed exclusively on acorns.

Other cured meats include chorizo (cured spicy sausages), salchichón (like salami), cecina (cured beef or goats meet) and lomo (cured back bacon)

Most of the shops listed on this page also sell other delicacy items such as virgin olive oil, so many of the shops recommended on this page are probably also valid references to other foods one tends to find in delicatessen.

La Boulette
Ayala 28
(Mercado de la Paz)
Metro: Velázquez
Zone : Salamanca
Map: O-99
And excellent selection of cheese from all over Spain, and a more limited (but still good) choice of French and Italian cheese. This shop also sells excellent Jamón and other cured meats, foie-gras products and some wines.

The shop itself is a stall inside the 'La Paz' market.

Open: 8.00 -15.00 / 17.30-20.00. Closed Saturday afternoon.

Palacio de los Quesos
Mayor 53
Metro: Sol
Zone : Sol
Map: F-11
Some 80 different cheeses, and other delicatessen-type goods. Usually very crowded

Open: 9.00 -14.30 / 17.00-20.30. Closed Saturday afternoon.

La Garriga
P. de la Castellana 153
Metro: Cuzco
Zone : Castellana
Cheeses and Catalan specialties. There's also a bar in the shop (with tapas) so you can try things before buying them.

Open:. 9.00 -15.30 / 17.00-20.00. Closed Saturday afternoon.

Cuenllas
Ferraz 3
Metro: Ventura Rodríguez / Plaza de España
Zone : Argüelles
Map: A-1
A shop which sells the finest specialty foods with prices to match. Exclusive selection of cheeses, wines, cured meats, olive oil etc. They also have such delicacies as foie-gras and (in season) truffles.

Open: 9.00 -14.00 / 17.30-20.30. Closed Saturday afternoon.

La Leonesa
Santa Isabel 1
Metro: Antón Martín
Zone : Lavapiés
Map: I-15
Beside the Antón Martín market, they have a large selection of cheese, jamón and cured meats.

Open: 9.00 -14.00 / 17.30-20.30. Closed Saturday afternoon.

López Pascual
Corredera Baja 13
Metro: Noviciado
Zone : Malasaña
Map: F-5
Quality at its best. Also oil, wine and quality cans.

Open:9.00 -14.00 / 17.30-20.30. Closed Saturday afternoon.