There is ham and there is Bayonne ham. After successfully launching a large-scale trade-focused campaign in 2017, the crown jewel of French cured ham continues its conquest of the US market by seducing Americans’ palates.
“Bayonne ham addresses American foodies’ search for authentic, premium and traceable craft products,” says Pierre-Yves Alifat, head of the Bayonne Ham Council Consortium. “The launch of our campaign coincides with a growing demand for charcuterie in the U.S., thus making today the perfect time to try this delicacy.”
Currently, five Bayonne ham brands are available across the United States, from 20 different distributors and their presence is growing. Aside from its delicate and subtle flavors, here are the top six reasons that make Bayonne ham so unique:
- An inimitable gem – Bayonne ham earned the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 1998, a label that guarantees the quality and geographic origin of a product. The ham is so inherently special and inimitable that it must come from southwest France to be called that way.
- Bayonne Ham, the taste of an outstanding terroir – Bayonne’s terroir is one-of-a-kind: the Adour Basin is influenced by the perfect combination of sea and mountains. Winds from the south known as “foehn” rise from the Pyrénées mountains and are balanced with the moist air flowing from the Atlantic to provide the ideal conditions for proper drying of the meat.
- Pigs, salt, air, patience and nothing else – Four ingredients are essential to the production of Bayonne ham: pigs, salt, air and patience. To qualify for production, pigs must be born and bred in the southwest France and fed with natural products. Even the natural salt from Salies-de-Bearn used in the curing is PGI-labelled, 100 percent natural, pure and rich in oligo-elements.
- An unequaled taste – The harmonious union between the freshest meat and natural salt gives this ham a truly unique and distinguishing flavor. “We have done many demos at our stores, and our shoppers, who are always looking for a new food experience, find Jambon de Bayonne to be just that! With a moderate saltiness and creamy finish, Jambon de Bayonne is unique and stands out among the rest,” said Richard Rosenberg, Director of Deli and Catering Operations at Fairway Market.
- An authentic craft delicacy – The history of Bayonne ham production is what sets it apart from other hams. True to tradition, Bayonne ham has retained its authentic medieval signature: hams are still branded with the “Bayonne” seal and the traditional Laburu Basque Cross.
- A guarantee of traceability and transparency – Bayonne ham producers’ philosophy is based on the complete control of the entire production cycle, from animal feeding to the distribution of the product. Every step along the ham’s journey to the dinner table can easily be traced.
Maison Agour, Delpeyrat, Mayte, Salaisons de l’Adour and Pierre Oteiza are some of the most beloved brands of Bayonne ham available in the United States.