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The 5 criteria to recognize a real Pata Negra ham

Do you think you have already tasted pure patanegra? Nothing is less sure! Did you know that only 3% of the total production of Spanish black pigs comes from the real Pata Negra? Beware of commercial labels that shamelessly use the terms bellota and patanegra! Only the European DOP label and the new mandatory labeling (plastic label around the foot) guarantee the purity of the breed, the terroir, the maturing time.

Dehesa offers you the guarantee of this label on its entire range of Iberian hams and fresh meats !

A January 2014 law and a label to protect Pata Negra from Chinese counterfeiting and factory farming.

After the rescue of the Gascon pig, the Iberian black pig is also the subject of safeguard measures in 2014, to prevent the barons of the sector, to complete a breed in extinction, abused by endless crossbreeding with white pigs stuffed with Mosanto meal.

A reform of the "Pata Negra" appellation.

Until yesterday the contours of the "Pata Negra" appellation were unclear and left room for confusion of genres in a market where irregular products circulate, greatly damaging the reputation of Iberian products. On January 11, 2014, the Spanish government finally legislated to regulate this designation. The color of the plastic label is now the only one that makes the denomination and category of the ham official:

In order to qualify, it is necessary to meet criteria related to the Iberian breed (and not "Iberian", which applies to all black and white pigs raised in Spain), extensive rearing in a four-region area, on plateaus at altitudes of more than 1,200 meters, feeding and maturing. The DOP, equivalent to our D.O.C., guarantees these four criteria but exceeds them in terms of sanitary, breeding and maturing requirements. This is why hams with a DOP are more expensive.

The demanding course of the Label which is based on 4 main criteria

  • The breed: Iberico

  • The land: the dehesa

  • The food: the bellota (but not only!)

  • Maturing time: min. 36 months for a ham and 12 months for a paleta

  • Traceability: independent auditing bodies that validate all elements of the PDO specifications


It is the oldest breed of pig in the world. Raised in the wild, and close to the wild boar, the animal is distinguished by its wild and assertive elegance through its slender line, its black legs and coat, its short hair and its slender snout, the only one capable of shelling the acorns of the oak tree, its gastronomic favorite.

Blessed by the gods, it is the only one to possess this genetic particularity which allows the fat to infiltrate progressively into the muscular tissue, offering this unctuous texture and this incomparable aroma of hazelnut, sublimated by its bellota-based diet.

Stars among the Iberian stars, they evolve in large forests wonderfully preserved from any urban development: La Dehesa.

Did you know that?

There are six sub-species of patanegra, three of which are in danger of extinction

  • Negro lampiño (less than 1900 species recorded)

  • Manchado of Jabugo (nearly 50 species recorded)

  • Torbiscal (less than 5000 species recorded)

  • Negro entrepelado

  • Retinto

  • Rubio andaluz

The + Maison DEHESA :

Like Andalusian horses, our black pigs are selected from the best breeders in Extremadura to allow the best crossbreeding in Spain, within the four subfamilies of the Iberico breed. Our breeders work with at least one of these breeds in extinction.


The "dehesa" refers to an ecosystem preserved from all human development, located in the southwest of Spain, and characterized by forests and primitive meadows of medium mountains, where black pigs, bulls, imperial eagles, cows, ibexes, calves, lambs... live in harmony and in virtual freedom. The originality of this land is that it offers the animals an abundant variety of food made up of Mediterranean and mountain flora, as well as the famous acorns of oak that give that special flavor to the iberico de bellota ham. This pig paradise also abounds in alpine herbs, olives, thyme, rosemary, and fruits such as figs. These are the ingredients that allow the hams of Maison DEHESA to express a greater aromatic amplitude.

The + Maison DEHESA : Our pigs live in virtual freedom in these pastures, which offer 8 hectares/pig, compared to the national average of 0.7. Thanks to these Dehesa Palace, our pigs find all the food necessary for their vitality. The Dehesas of Extremadura where our pigs live are the most prized in Spain for their variety of food and their "yield" of bellota per hectare.

3. A NATURAL DIET: THE BELLOTA (but not only!)

The bellota is the acorn of holm oak and cork oak found throughout Mediterranean Europe.

The + Maison DEHESA : In case of a bad bellota season, we do not cheat by adding to their food supplements based on flours too loaded with carbohydrates or synthetic products dedicated to rapid fattening. We prefer to raise our pigs for 24-36 months instead of the average 14-18 months, so that they can benefit from two oak acorn seasons. By eating only mountain herbs and fruits, the fat of our pigs has a mineral fat filter, which will make you forget that you are eating cold cuts. Make way for gustatory elegance!

In addition, after two years, the formation of fat in the intramuscular area is completed and allows the creation of the micro-perspiration that is essential for a maturing period of more than 36 months.


The hams are cured in brine in mountain dryers for 36 months according to a very precise process.

Maison DEHESA's advantage: Since our pigs benefit from two seasons of bellota, their flesh is sufficiently micro-weathered to allow the curing process to be extended to over 42 months. At Maison DEHESA, our curing phases vary from 42 to 82 months depending on the vintage and weight of the hams, compared to 24 to 36 months for the average Iberian ham and 7 to 12 months for a cured ham.

100% natural: our hams are matured in traditional mountain air dryers.

100% original: a hygrometric curing technique inspired by wine maturation techniques and a curing period exceeding the legal minimum required by the DOP to ensure a structured and delicate taste.

Why is DEHESA House Pata Negra ham the best on the market?

Our breeding and maturing standards are the highest in Spain!

By doubling the maturing and curing times, selecting the breeds and the breeding lands, the breeders and the curing craftsmen, our hams and paletas have a more structured and balanced aromatic signature, without any pronounced salt notes.

The traceability of our hams is guaranteed by the mandatory double labeling (law 2014) and the national and European DOP label of Guijelo. In addition to the mandatory external controls related to the D.O.P. label, we have added internal controls throughout the production process to achieve complete traceability and exceptional taste consistency.

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