Iberico Luxury Ham

There's Spam, there's prosciutto, and then there's Jamon Iberico -- the Beluga Caviar of pork products. Until recently, government restrictions kept this voluptuous meat confined to the Iberian Peninsula, but now you can pre-order it through the expat importers at La Tienda, who are finally shipping delicious "cerdo negro" right to your doorstep. Iberico's flavor is all in the nuts: the pigs -- rare Spanish black-hoofed hogs -- subsist primarily on acorns from cork trees, which lend the marbled meat a rich, distinctive taste. After achieving sufficient porkiness, the pigs are slaughtered, salted, and hung to cure in the mountain air for up to three years. Once in your home, the Iberico requires minimal preparation -- just shave off a few slices with a knife, pour a glass or three of Rioja, and sink into a deep ham-phoria.Because of its magical curing, the Iberico doesn't need to be refrigerated and will last for months -- it will get moldy, but just wipe it off, and it'll still be perfectly edible. The end product isn't cheap, but considering the $1200 cost of a premium free-range/boneless Bellota (available winter 2008), you should consider buying 17 of these -- ideal presents for friends, family, and hamless orphans.