Bayonne ham

Jambon de Bayonne IGP

The making of Bayonne ham traces its roots to the traditional production principles of meat-curing in the Adour basin. 


Pays Basque – Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine


Product details

The making of Bayonne ham traces its roots to the traditional production principles of meat-curing in the Adour basin. On the Atlantic coast and at the foothills the Pyrenees, it benefits from the exceptional natural conditions of winds from both the sea and mountains, including the famous foehn effect (hot, dry wind from Spain). The Bayonne ham is salted with Salies-de-Béarn salt.

The origin of the name comes from the place where it is marketed, indeed it is from the port of Bayonne that hams were shipped. In reality, the Bayonne ham is the product of one region: the Adour Basin. The geological and climatic conditions of the region are particularly conducive for curing, with alternately dry influences of the south winds and humidity of the Atlantic Ocean. It sits between sea and mountains, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and at the foothills of the Pyrenees.

During the different phases of its maturation, Bayonne ham develops its aromas and acquires its smoothness. Thinly sliced, it melts in the mouth, with a delicate and slightly salty flavour, a striking and very characteristic aroma due to its long period of maturation and ripening (minimum 7 months for the IGP and 9 months minimum for the Label Rouge).

To keep the Bayonne ham’s distinctive characteristics, the Interprofession Porcine Aquitaine (INPAQ) and the Consortium du Jambon de Bayonne which include all the links in the chain, obtained at European level, an Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) in October 1998. Now, only hams from strict farming, slaughter and butchery of pigs can be called Bayonne hams, while well-defined conditions of salting and drying of the hams also count.

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How to serve it

It is the easiest thing in the world to enjoy!

  • Place the Bayonne ham with the chistera (heavy, rounded part) facing down and the petite noix (the thinnest part) facing upwards.
  • Knot the red tape around the bone, tightening the loop to steady the Bayonne ham as you slice it.
  • Take a small serrated knife and use it to gently remove some of the rind, working with the grain of the meat, and uncover the fat. Do the same for the side of the Bayonne ham.
  • Take a large knife and carefully slice the meat, making sure to leave a band of fat on the edge of your slice.
  • The thickness of the slice is a matter of personal taste. However, the thinner the slice, the more easily it will release the flavour notes of your Bayonne ham.

There is no need to worry if you do not finish your Bayonne ham straight away: it can be stored somewhere cool and dry (but not in a refrigerator). It just needs to be covered with a cotton cloth, like a tea towel or ideally a woven ham bag. When you would like some more, set aside the first slice as it will have dried somewhat. The flavour of subsequent slices will not have changed.

Today, Bayonne ham is the most famous ham in France, the most bought and one that customers are the most loyal to!

Consumer Study of Jambon de Bayonne, TNS SOFRES, July 2006.

View Producer

Pierre Oteiza

View Recipe

Bayonne ham crisp and cream, green apple jelly


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