I was invited to my first #ZomatoMeetUp by the lovely people of Zomato. Zomato is an online restaurant guide, which is made up of a vast and diverse community of foodies, including me, who share their restaurant experiences, with the aim of helping others make more informed restaurant choices. A #ZomatoMeetUp is an event held for an invited selection of active Zomato users.
So for my first meet up I was invited to Learn the art of Jamón carving at Camino, BanksideCamino’s exciting new tapas bar which has just opened behind the Tate Modern at Bankside.
I arrived and as I walked into the restaurant I instantly saw the open jamón counter where the legs are proudly hung. Dinners are able to sit here sipping cava, whilst enjoying traditional Spanish ham carved right before their eyes by the highly trained cortador de jamón. So by the end of the evening I too was hoping to be a (slightly trained) cortador de jamón.
The evening kicked off with the whole group gathered round a slightly eerie looking pig leg, hairy trotter and all. We were given a demonstration in how to cut the ham.
We were also informed all about the welfare of the pigs and diets of different types of hams, as a slide show looped behind us with cute little piggies, and no I didn’t fell guilty at all!
The group was split into two, whilst the other half carved my half sat and had a delicious selection of tapas.
Manchego ewe cheese & quince jelly
Crispy fried baby squid & alioli
Pimientos de padron peppers
Now for those who do not know, eating these peppers is like playing a game of roulette. The peppers are usually mild in heat BUT if you choose one of the godfather hot peppers you might notice your tongue tingle. There’s no way to differentiate, its just pot luck.
After mingling and munching with my fellow foodies we were called up to the leg. I’m a generally clumsy awkward person with hardly any grace. So I took the knife and attempted to carve. I was very conscious of my other hand just hanging there and it naturally wanted to hold onto the ham, so I was given a small tong as a distraction.
Oh my goodness, I never knew that something which looked so simple was actually really difficult. My hands were awkward, the angle of my knife was wrong, even the way I was standing was wrong, oh dear!
The pork is quite tough and the knife does not glide through the meat it has to be sawn through as if playing a violin. I did somehow manage to get a few good slices.
Here’s some pics of me carving, told you I had no grace!
So after we had all had a go we all gathered downstairs at the ham counter and watched the professionals carve a variety while we got to taste them all.
Jamón Teruel DO (20 months) – white ham
Jamón Iberico Cebo (24 months) – the ham we carved
Jamón Iberico Bellota Etiqueta Roja (32 months) – red labeled ham
Jamón Iberico Bellota Etiqueta Negra, Cinco Jotas (36 months) – the black labelled ham
The more mature the ham, the more expensive the cost. I was already a fan of the black label though, these pigs are pure acorn fed and its incredible how strong the acorn flavour comes through. I actually really enjoyed the white ham too as it was such a contrast in taste, a really subtle flavour.
We were also served another couple of tapas bits of Pan con Tomate and Tortilla de patata
Then it was time to say goodbye and head home.
So that was my first ever #ZomatoMeetUp, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really enjoyed meeting some fellow Zomato users. It was also my first ever carving experience which I did enjoy although I wasn’t very good at it. Its a great thing to do with a group of friends as you can just ridicule each other while you’re sitting back and eating the ham that you have just butchered.
New Jamón masterclasses are held at the swanky new Bankside Venue starting September 23rd and are £30 per person where you will learn how to prepare, slice and serve Jamón directly from the leg. (Hopefully better than me) And as well as being able to take what you carve you can also purchase a leg of your own to show off your new skills. Spaces are very limited, click the link to reserve your place here
Thank you to Camino and Zomato for your amazing food and hospitality.