We may be focused on providing you with the top-notch Jamón Ibérico de Bellota over here at COVAP USA, but ham and cheese are two important artisan products commonly found together on the Spanish table. So it’s only natural that we offer up our expert advice to all you cheese lovers on how to best pair and enjoy jamón ibérico to the fullest this Cheese Lover’s Day.
Celebrate with a Cheese Board
There’s probably no better way to really enjoy cheese than in tasty bites from a big cheese board. Particularly when it comes to high-quality artisan cheeses, like the ones made in Spain, a cheeseboard let’s each variety of cheese shine on its own.
In Spain, we often order or prepare small cheese boards, or little cheese tapas before we start a big meal. It’s a great accompaniment to a glass of wine or a refreshing beer, and let’s us slowly ease into lunch or dinner. Cheese is simple to prepare and packs a lot of flavor, making it such a quick and fantastic starter. It’s also a huge crowd pleaser and offers a wide variety of flavors and textures for every taste.
Some of our favorite cheeses are, of course, Spanish cheeses. We love a good classic aged Manchego or Rulo de Cabra (a soft goat cheese with a tangy rind), and also love to explore cheeses from other regions of Spain. Take Cabrales, for example, a pungent blue cheese aged in the mountainous caves of northern Spain. Or Idiazabal, a Basque sheep’s milk cheese that’s traditionally smoked in shepherds’ cabins.
There are so many accompaniments you can add to a cheeseboard, from nuts and dried fruit to jams, crackers, and toasts. But our absolute favorite pairing is an array of beautiful slices of jamón ibérico and other cured meats like chorizo and salchichón. They add nuanced textures, spice, and bold flavors that pair beautifully with a cheeseboard, no matter what sort of cheeses you love. And they each show off different aspects of Spanish cuisine that are bound to surprise you.
Upgrade Your Grilled Cheese
We all love great grilled cheese. It’s toasty, melty, salty, and totally nostalgic. There are practically endless ways to make grilled cheese, from mixing up the cheeses to finding your favorite bread and toppings.
The cheese you use is super important in a grilled cheese; not just any will do. Though we love those nutty cured cheeses like Spanish Manchego, they’re not great for melting and thus aren’t ideal for making grilled cheese. Instead, choose something that melts easily and gets nice and gooey. There is the classic cheddar or a white cheddar, a brie, or even something like a smoked gouda will do the trick. You can also add a swipe of cream cheese for extra creaminess.
For Italian flair, try a fontina cheese, which has a pronounced flavor and melts beautifully. And if you want to go the Spanish route (which we definitely recommend), try out Tetilla, a creamy cow’s milk cheese hailing from the northwest region of Galicia.
There are also spreads and mix-ins that let you get creative with your grilled cheese, like fig jam, apple slices, caramelized onions, stone-ground mustard, or even a fried egg. But our favorite way to elevate a grilled cheese is with thin, hand-cut slices of 100% Ibérico Jamón de Bellota.
When you’re making your grilled cheese, you simply add those slices of jamón in between the layers of cheese before sizzling your sammy in the pan. The jamón will warm up nicely and the fat will melt perfectly into the sandwich, adding bursts of nutty and earthy Iberian flavor.
Jamón & Cheese: A Match Made in Heaven
There are so many other ways to combine jamón ibérico and other cured Iberian meats with cheese this Cheese Lover’s Day. Try out luxurious slices of jamón or spicy chorizo on a cheesy homemade pizza. Grill out and add jamón to a juicy cheeseburger for a Spanish-themed barbecue. Or add a few slices to a creamy parmesan cheese risotto. We also love a little jamón or chorizo and cheese in a breakfast omelet or a Spanish tortilla. And salchichón is fantastic when rolled up with cheese and puffed pastry and baked to perfection.
With endless ways to pair cheese and Iberian cured meats, there’s no reason not to add a little jamón to your Cheese Lover’s Day feast. Check out the COVAP USA store to get jamón shipped to your doorstep and make everyday an Iberian-themed Cheese Lover’s Day.