The Pata Negra is one of the Iberian Peninsula's most sought-after gastronomic jewels.
The name literally translates to "Black Hoof", and is a type of curated ham made from black Iberian pig. The name refers to the colour of the nails of the pig, which are usually white for normal pigs, but black for the black Iberian pig. The finest quality Pata Negra is called the Bellota Pata Negra, meaning that the ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests around the border of Portugal and Spain, and is curated for 36 months. The Bellota Pata Negra is priced at upwards of 150€/kg, making it one of the most expensive products in the market. It is highly praised for their smooth texture and rich, savoury taste, while regular flecks of intramuscular fat indicate a good quality ham.
Varanda Restaurant's lunch buffet is a magnificent place to find some of the finest Pata Negra in the country, which can be accompanied by local cheeses and wines.
Maître Sommelier Licínio Carnaz suggests a fresh and complex wine such as the "Palácio da Breijoeira" green wine or the "Grainha" white wine from the Douro region. For a wildcard, go for the fresh and fruity "Redoma" rosé, that will counterbalance the saltiness of the smoked ham.