Two of the great artisanal foods of Spain. Serrano has been an obsession of many who tasted it in Spain, but were unable to obtain it in the U.S. until the late 1990s, when its importation was legalized.
Tip: only buy where turnover is high, to ensure that yours is in perfect condition. Also, places like Dean and Deluca, my personal favorite in Washington, D.C., are experts at slicing it into translucent, almost gossamer slices, as it should be served, AND placing a thin piece of wax paper between slices so that when you arrive home, you’re not looking at one thick slab of ruined pork.
Iberico is still banned in the U.S. One supplier – tienda.com – has been working for years to get it into the states legally, and appears to be making slow progress: while the target date for the first shipment was Christmas 2004, things have gone more slowly than expected, so now the goal is Easter 2005. You can pre-order one now for $199. Personally, I’d wait if I were you.