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Eiriz Estate
Iberian Adventure:
Hamming It Up With a Few Babes From Corteconcepción
(Dispatch #11)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

Helder of Insight Vacations

t's another bag drag for the intrepid "band of merry media," 29 travel journalists and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its premium-escorted Iberian Adventure through Portugal and Spain, as we board the sleek Mercedes luxury coach and bid adeus to Évora, the atmospheric UNESCO World Heritage city, while Helder, Insight's GQ-worthy pilot, sets the GPS for Seville, the capital of Andalusia, via a pig farm in the Huelva that produces the prized jamón ibérico (Iberian ham).


Domingo of Eíriz

Like the opening line from the time-tested nursery rhyme, This Little Piggy, the Insight galleon drops anchor outside the sprawling Eíriz estate in Corteconcepción, where we're about to witness prized black Iberian pigs roaming free until they're turned into succulent hams and sausages and sent to the market

grasslands inside the Nature Park of Aracena

Manolo banging on an oak tree for acorns

Domingo, one of the present owners from the current generation of the nearly 200-year-old Eíriz legacy, greets us at the entryway and quickly brings us up to speed on the family business before taking us on a walking tour of their dehesa (grasslands) inside the Nature Park of Aracena.

While little brother Domingo narrates the scene, big brother Manolo bangs on the limbs of sturdy oak trees, calls out and a small drift of pigs rushes in and feasts on the bellota (acorns) scattered about on the ground.

A steady diet of sweet and sour acorns is what makes the black Iberian pig so treasured at the table. During their abbreviated lifetimes, each one will continuously dine off the fallen fruit from a hectare of land filled with Holm, Gall and Cork oak trees.

acorn; black hoof pigs feeding on acorn

According to Domingo, "Approximately 400 kilos of acorns per pig contributes to one kilo of weight gain." He adds that their pata negra (black hoof) pigs are only brought to market after they're two years old and reach the Denomination of Origin (DO) requisite weight of 340 lb. (160 kg).

It's the combination of age, weight and free-range lifestyle that earn these acorn-eating "babes" the coveted title of jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham).

touring Eíriz's production facilities

Donning mandatory plastic smocks, shower caps and blue booties, as if we're getting ready to "walk the grid" in an episode of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), we enter Eíriz's production facilities to see firsthand most of the steps involved in bringing the prized black Iberian pork products to market.

From salting, washing, drying, curing and aging, we view it all. Thankfully, at least to our knowledge, no pigs were harmed during our "investigation."

packaged Eíriz Iberian pork ham

Back outside dressed in our civvies, we gather in the flower-draped patio of Hacienda Eíriz for a healthy sampling of our host's award-winning Jamón de Oro (Golden Ham) products.

plates of acorn-fed hams and sausages and regional cheeses with Andalusian wines and sherries at Hacienda Eíriz

There are plates filled with a variety of acorn-fed hams and sausages along with an assortment of regional cheeses. And on ice, delicious Andalusian wines, jerez (sherries) and Spanish beer.

"It's time to go," announces Toni, aka El Guapo, Insight's tour director, but no one moves a muscle. Like the babes of Corteconcepción, if you want this "band of merry media" to board the motor coach you'd better start throwing acorns.

Iberian Adventure brochures from Insight Vacations

For complete information on Insight's 112 premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you in about an hour when we pull into Seville, the capital of Andalusia, savor some churros and hot chocolate at an outdoor cafe, and then take a leisurely stroll along the cobble of Barrio Santa Cruz.

¡Hasta luego!

Related Articles:
The Medieval Village of Monsaraz; Enchanting Évora, Portugal's Laid-Back Museum City; Sampling World-Class Wines at the Alentejo; Cascais and Sintra: To the Edge of the Earth; Framing Lisbon's Mosteiro dos Jerónimos; The Age of Discovery Began in Belém

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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