Jamones de Juviles is a company of family background which is dedicated to the elaboration of hams in a natural and artisanal way. These hams contain neither dyes or preservatives nor nitrites, resulting in products of maximum quality. This company is located in the south of Sierra Nevada in an approximate high of 1.250 meters. It is located in the middle of the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada, in the municipality of Juviles, in the region of Alpujarra.
Its origins date back to the years 30’. At that moment, its founder Jesús Ortega Ortega salted and cured the pieces at its own house in the Alpujarra. In the years 60’, his son-in-law Jose Fernández Lara joined the company and began the professional activity of marketing and elaborating the pieces. During the 90’s, it began the activity in a national and international level and it began to participate in national fairs of the sector.
Hams of jamones de Juviles have a short but interesting story and evolution. As it has been stated previously, they began its commercial activity in a nationally and internationally during the 90’s. In 1998, the Regulatory Board of Jamón de Trevélez is created, being the company Jamones de Juviles one of the main founder partners. This board grants shelter and protection to the hams under the specific designation “Jamón de Trevélez”. It is in 2004 in the order APA2859/2004 when it is recognized as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery.
Towards the end of the 90’s and at the beginning of the 2000’s is when the exportation of the hams jamones de Juviles and jamón de Trevélez begins. Their products begin to be commercialized in Europe, increasing its relationship with this market. Also the products are exported to some Asian countries, specially Japan and Russia.
As of year 2000 they begin to receive different awards and certifications of quality not only by their products, but also by its elaboration method. In this year they receive the certification according to the rule ISO 9001 for their system of quality assurance in the production and the post-sale service. In 2005 a system of control and traceability is implanted in all the pieces and in 2007, they obtain the certification Certicalidad for the elaboration and commercialization of Ibérico pieces of cebo and bellota. Lastly, in 2012 it is certified its system of management for the production and commercialization of hams, based on the rule I.F.S. version 6. The certifications and awards granted transcend the state and regulatory agencies. In 2004, Hotel Sur certified the jamones de Juviles like one of the 25 selected products for the catering.
The elaboration process followed by the jamones de Juviles is done in a specific way. Producing its pieces in a completely natural and artisanal way is one of the keys. The raw material is carefully selected in order to obtain pieces of the best quality possible.
Firstly, fresh ham pieces are selected and the process of curing begins. For that reason it is used marine salt. These pieces don’t have nitrites, preservatives, dyes or artificial flavorings in order to make the final consumer appreciate the true flavor of the ham. This part of the process is one of the most important because it helps to remove the possible impurities of the ham. It is based on an artisanal and traditional method with the aim of obtaining a completely natural ham low in salt.
Next, the curing process of the piece begins. At this point of the process, the ham rests in natural dryers from the area of the Alpujarra, in Sierra Nevada. The cold and dry climate of the zone confers flavoring qualities to the ham. This part of the process is closely supervised by the masters of ham from Juviles. Thanks to their knowledge of the traditional elaboration, the masters of Juviles achieve to obtain hams of the highest quality.
Lastly, the maturation process in cellars begins. The conditions of the cellars in which the pieces maturate and rest are completely natural. The duration of this phase can vary depending on the size of the piece, because when the piece is bigger it needs more time of maturation. During this phase, the piece reaches the color, the texture and the flavor which shows that the piece is ready to be consumed. The exact moment of maturation is determined by the ham master according to traditional methods and to his own experience. This will determine which is the necessary curing point and when pieces should leave the natural dryers in order to enjoy its flavor.
We can find 3 types of product depending on the type of pig used in the elaboration and the curing time of the product.
Jamón de Juviles from la Alpujarra: This ham comes from the white pigs. The biggest curiosity is that they are exclusively elaborated with ham of female pigs. They are natural and artisanal cured in Juviles, in the middle of the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada. Its curing time can vary from the 16 to the 20 months.
Jamón de Juviles of Trevélez: this ham has the distinctive PGI “Jamón de Trevélez” and comes from the white pigs of high quality. The curing is similar to the one in the jamones de Juviles, and it only uses marine salt in order to follow the rules of the governing council. The curing time can vary from the 17 to the 23 months. These pieces are protected by the governing council and they should have a seal with a “T” numbered and controlled with a red, blue or black seal. The blue seal means that the piece has had a curing time of more than 17 months and that its weight varies from 7 to 8 kilograms. The red seal means the ham has more than 20 months of curing and that its weight varies from 8 to 9 kilograms. In last place, the black seal means the ham has more than 23 months of curing and that its weight is more than 10 kilograms.
Iberian Jamón de Juviles: This ham has been cured in a naturally and artisanally and comes from the Iberian pigs. The curing is only done with marine salt, without using neither nitrites nor preservatives and following the rules. The curing time of the pieces varies from 2 to 4 years, depending on the fact that it is a ham shoulder or ham and according the alimentation of the pig. The Iberian ham shoulders of cebo and bellota have more than two years of curing, while the Iberian ham of cebo has 2 years and a half of curing and the Iberian bellota hams need more than 3 years of curing.