Experts judge and enjoy a ham or a sausage with all senses: decisive is the appearance, the texture when biting into it, the smell as well as the flavour – and last, but not least, the typical “cracking” sound when you bite into a sausage.
Try and compare
You don’t have to be a professional expert to enjoy a tasting. To ensure that the flavour of every product can be experienced to the full, the tasting always begins with the milder range of products. The products with the most intensive flavours are then tested at the end of the tasting round.
Dry-cured ham is characterised by its typical cured flavour. This is derived from the cured colour, the cured smell and the cured flavour. In addition to this, the Black Forest ham has a typical spicy and smoky flavour.
Our tip: we recommend you try for yourself, to find out which kind of ham best suits your palate. In doing so, you should always ensure that the following external conditions are present:
- The atmosphere should, if possible, be devoid of other distracting and disturbing smells.
- Prior to the testing, one should not have smoked or eaten really spicy foods, as this will impact the sensory impact.
- The use of perfume is to be avoided.
- The tasting should not be carried out when hungry.
- The room should be well lit.
- White bread and mineral water or unsweetened herbal tea should be at hand so as to neutralize your palate.
Appearance and texture
First start off by looking at the ham and its external texture: Does it display a nice compact shape or is it rather showing ragged signs, owing to cracks? Does the ham have an evenly spread dark smoky colour on the outside? In order to test the colour, colour maintenance and composition of the ham, it is cut through in the middle, straight and against the grain, by using a sharp knife. Black Forest ham has to display the typical fresh cured red colour. The ratio of fat rind at the bottom of the ham to that of the lean meat amounts to 1:5. The fat rind has a clear white color and has not been colored yellow by the smoke.
If the ham is firm this is a sign of quality. With regard to Black Forest ham, the specialist will refer to the “robust bite”.
So as to ensure that the full aroma of the ham can unfurl, it is left at room temperature for a couple of minutes prior to testing. You now again cut a thick slice (approx. 2 cm) off the ham, with the purpose of inhaling the full cured-fragrance at the freshly cut surface.
In order to get the full flavor of the ham, it is best to taste a wafer-thin slice. Here it is important to focus on the salty-spicy and typically smoky flavor.