How to Make a Ham Sandwich in Spain
Step 1: Go to the bakery and buy a loaf of fresh bread.
There seems to be a bakery every couple blocks in Valencia. This one had a lot of customers at the moment I walked in, so it was probably as good a choice as any.
Step 2: Go to the butcher shop and buy ham.
In Spain unless you say otherwise, “jamon” (ham) means “jamon iberico” (Iberian ham), a cured ham made from only a certain kind of pig. It’s definitely not to be confused with the ham you find in American delicatessens. In Spanish food culture, Iberian ham is practically a religion. It’s also expensive, but because it has so much flavor, you only need a couple very thin slices for a sandwich.
This butcher shop also sells cheese. Is there anything interesting to be said about Spanish cheese? I have no idea, as I’ve been too busy getting to know ham.
Step 3: Buy a tomato at the fruit and vegetable shop.
Fruit and vegetable shops are just about as common as bakeries, and with the exception of one dry lime, all the oranges, lemons, kiwis, bananas, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. that we’ve bought have tasted great. In a future post I will share some prices, but suffice it to say that high quality fruits and vegetables are much less expensive here than in the U.S.
Method 2: Go to the big supermarket around the corner and buy everything there.
This method is so boring that I refuse to dignify it with a photo.
With time, maybe the benefits of one-stop shopping will outweigh the charm of buying each ingredient at a different shop, but for now I’m happy to work for my ham sandwiches.