The Dry-cured Hams
Manteigaria Silva only works with the best dry-cured hams. Year-round, a special attention is paid when choosing the best pieces to sell in the following seasons: always the most excellent pigs, usually the leaders of the rods, who are the first to feed themselves.
There is also great care regarding the boning process. Each dry-cured ham is handled in the best way: Manteigaria Silva does not buy dry-cured hams already boned, it does all of the boning manually, and even has an employee with only that particular job. The boning is integral, without undoing the piece, and the technique is applied to dry-cured hams with different curing times. Dry-curing the hams with the bone guarantees that the meat retains more flavour.
In addition to making the selection, the artisanal boning and the specialized pressing, the Manteigaria Silva team also provides a unique service at the time of purchase. The store has a Berkel slicer, a classic, which can slice dry-cured ham so thin to the point of being transparent. This machine, manually operated, does not heat the product while cutting it, respecting its integrity. Thus, when savouring the dry-cured ham, you enjoy it freshly sliced, in its natural state and at the peak of its flavour.
In all, Manteigaria Silva sells about 2 tons of dry-cured ham per month. From these, some deserve a special mention: the Paleta (24 months of curing), the Bolota (acorn-fed; 40 months of curing; it melts on the tongue as soon as you savour it), the Reserve (24 months of curing), and the Vintage (60 months of curing; a unique project, which only produces 20 dry-cured hams per year, sold exclusive to this shop). There is also the Bísaro (chestnut-fed), the Trás-os-Montes dry-cured ham (36 months of curing), the one from Chaves (smoked, with a curing of 20 months), and the Grande Reserva (15 months of curing), of top quality.
“If you have a whole dry-cured ham, start by cutting a layer of fat. Whenever you cut a slice, cover the ham with this layer. This will act as a «lid», retaining the natural moisture of the whole piece. This way, the dry-cured ham won’t dry out.”