Bellota Bellota
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A Porcine Delight at Bellota Bellota
He slid the long steel knife along the cured ham and sliced sheaths no thicker than the wax paper upon which they lay. One needs a sharp knife, mettle, and a firm wrist to make such cuts and the man possessed all of these qualities. The translucent slices, intervals of meat and fat, were slick and moist and I suppose I breached proper etiquette when I stuffed the entire sample of the Pata Negra into my maw. (I think I was supposed to share the slices with my wife.) Bellota-Bellota is in the 7th arrondissement and specializes in Pata Negra or the black Iberian pork indigenous to southern Spain. In the ham you are supposed to be able to taste the acorns, the principal diet of the pig, but I did not - I suppose my gluttonous approach left much to be desired. What I did taste, however, was unequivocally the very best cured meat I had ever had. Words like unctuous and sublime come to mind and are probably understatements. The small shop also sells wines and cheeses to pair with the hams which hang hypnotically in the window. They also serve lunch and dinner and the sandwiches and tapas are a good way to sample the different charcuterie. We bought bags of the traditional bellota and a bottle of red wine, stopped at the boulanger patissier for a baguette (but only a baguette because one does not want to disrupt the rhythm of the evening bread queue), and enjoyed a simple, wonderful, Franco-Iberian meal.
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