How it is made

Prepared using traditional methods

La fabrication du Jambon de Bayonne en vidéo

Nothing is kept secret, since confidence in any product is based on transparency, allowing time for all the different stages to be completed, all of which play an essential rôle in the maturing of Bayonne Ham.

Salage du Jambon de BayonneSalting: like the winter chill

Whole fresh hams are rubbed with salt from salt workings in the Adour river basin. They are then covered with a thick layer of salt and put in the salting tub.

Repos du Jambon de BayonneResting: in the pantry

The hams are hung in a resting chamber, known as a souillarde (regional term for a back kitchen), which allows winter conditions to be imitated, drying the hams at a low temperature.

Le séchage du Jambon de BayonneDrying: hung from a beam

The hams are placed in drying chambers where they start a long maturation process, which will ensure the best possible flavour, aromas and the soft melting texture of the finished ham.

Le pannage du Jambon de BayonnePannage: sealing in the flavour

Pannage is a process in which a mixture of lard and flour is applied to the exposed muscle tissue of the ham. It moderates the rate at which the ham dries through the long maturation period.

L'affinage du Jambon de BayonneMaturing: the time needed to finish a ham

It is the final stage, where the ham will acquire all its qualities and reveal its personality: a sweet and balanced flavour, salted with a light hand; a delicate aroma, as well as its characteristic red/pink colour.

Le sondage du Jambon de BayonneProbe testing: before tasting

The hams are first judged by expert “noses” who will use a probe on the hams to grade them and define their taste qualities. It takes an average of nine to ten months to make a Bayonne Ham, with a minimum of seven months.

The “Bayonne” seal

Finally the “Bayonne” seal, carrying the Basque cross or “Lauburu”, will be applied with a hot branding iron to all the Bayonne Hams that have met the selection requirements at every stage.