The Spanish word “jamón” is an umbrella term that translates simply as “ham” and encompasses all types of ham and ham-like products.
Still, we imagine a specific product when speaking about Spanish jamón. Spanish jamón, made from a pig’s hind leg, is one of the most famous cured meats in the world. It’s divided into two broad categories Jamón Serrano, the more common variety that can be made with most conventional pig breeds, and Jamón Iberico, which can only be made from the Black Iberian pig breed. Jamón Iberico only accounts for less than 10% of overall jamón production and is considered one of the prized Spanish delicacies.
The French have a similar word for ham, Jambon. As with the Spanish jamón, the French jambon encompasses multiple ham varieties, with one caveat: it must be made from either shoulder or a thigh part of the animal. It can be either dry-cured or cooked. A popular French ham variety, Jambon de Paris is a slow-cooked, unsmoked ham traditionally prepared by artisanal butcher shops in the French capital. The French equivalent of Spanish jamón would be Jambon sec, the dry-cured ham.