Never mind the myriad challenges and problems our country is facing, the government, specifically the Customs and Immigration department, wants to protect you from ham.
Not just from any old ham, but from the holy grail of hams: the super-premium jamón ibérico de bellota.
To aficionados, a jamón ibérico de bellota is the stuff of dreams:
The ultimate result is long, thin leg of ham with a deep golden hue to its fat. The meat is dark red, marbled with veins of fat. We had an incredible experience in the city of Caceres. There Pedro Lancho, the owner of Encinar de Cabazón, served us a feast fit for a king. The highlight was when the professional waiter at his favorite restaurant brought out plates of his Gran Reserva Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. It was served in paper thin slices on a plate that was warmed to about 80 degrees. At that temperature the fat literally melted onto the plate. On first bite, the flavor of the ham was incredible. Sweet, nutty, and not too salty. Then the complexity of ham flavors increased. An essential part of the flavor and mouth-feel was the way the fat melted away, releasing flavors that told the story of the noble Ibérico swine, of the dehesa forest pasture, of the years of careful curing, and of the countryside of Spain itself.
Poetic as that description is, you must take my word that it comes short to the experience. You haven’t lived until you have had some. We’re talking bucket-list worthy. I know people who have traveled to Spain for it.
So an American couple returning from Spain brought a pound of vacuum-sealed jamón ibérico, a hundred dollars’ worth.
A pound is worth $100. To buy it online you would spend hundreds of dollars. One site has “6-7 pounds” on sale for $995.95, down from $1,285.95.
And what did they do at LAX Customs?
They threw it away.
Yessiree, they threw away a pound’s worth of celestial hammy gold exquisiteness.
To double down on the idiocy,
Here’s what the Customs and Border Protection website says:
“Pork should be commercially canned and labeled in unopened containers. Pork and pork products are not admissible from Mexico, except for cooked pork in small amounts for a meal.”
Excuse me? MEXICO??
My grandfather, who came from Spain, must be spinning in his grave.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.
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