WASHINGTON – Bellota Importers, the only retail and wholesale distributor of raw Iberico de Bellota in the U.S., announced its first shipment for the 2010 season is in the U.S. and ready for sale to the foodservice industry and general public.
Iberico de Bellota raw pork comes from the purebred heritage Iberico pig, which feeds, among other things, on acorns known as "bellota" during the peak fattening season from December to March. Reportedly the last free-ranging pigs in Europe, Iberico pigs roam in an indigenous forest of southwestern Spain eating acorns, mushrooms and herbs. This pig's diet infuses the pork with a buttery, nutty flavor, the company claims.
The breed's ability to store extremely high levels of monounsaturated fats in its dense muscle tissue -- a trait unique to the Iberian breed of pig -- also makes the meat tender and produces heart-healthy benefits, the company adds.
Last year, new raw Iberico de Bellota chuletero (loin) cuts were introduced in the U.S. for the first time and quickly sold out. For 2010, Bellota Importers has expanded its wholesale/retail product line to include cuts that never have been sold in the U.S. before: Carrilleras (cheeks), Costilla (spare ribs), Panceta (belly - rind on) and Tocino de Cuello (fat back). Bellota Importers also will have available the following additional new cuts unique to the Iberico breed: Pluma (a cut from the shoulder section of the loin), Presa de Paleta (shoulder steak) and Secreto o Cruceta (between the shoulder, ribs and fatback).
"In eating Iberico de Bellota, you get the best of both worlds," said Bill Fuchs, owner of Bellota Importers, a part of the Wagshal's Group of Companies in Washington, D.C. "You get meat that's not only succulent and flavorful but has high levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol. In Spain they call Iberico de Bellota pigs 'olive trees with legs' because they provide high levels of HDL cholesterol."