This little piggy went to market – with a record-breaking price tag of £4,000.
The butcher was preparing to sell the two most expensive legs of ham in the world.
But for those whose wallet doesn’t stretch that far, the four-year-old 8kg meat will be cut into 100g portions and available to buy for £36 each.
Davidsons Butchers in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, sourced the two Jamon Ibérico Bellota Gourmet Oro hams from world-renowned pig breeder Simón Martín.
John Davidson, 39, plans to allow the meat to continue maturing before offering it for sale on Valentine’s Day.
He said: “I’ve no doubts this is the best ham in the world. I just called Simón Martín in Spain and I simply said to him, ‘I’m looking for the finest ham in the world’ and he said ‘I’ve got the exact one’.
“Although Simón runs a small business, he’s won the world’s best ham award so many times, he’s simply the best in the world for producing ham.
“I’ve put a price of £2,000 on each leg, but I don’t really want them to be sold individually if I can help it, because I hope as many of the public as possible can taste them.”
The Jamon Ibérico Bellota Gourmet Oro hams won the International Taste & Quality Institute Superior Taste Award 2012 with three stars.
European judges at the time said “The Ibérico ham has an attractive visual aspect, a lovely texture and a full-flavoured taste.”
“It’s tender, not too salty, with the appropriate proportion of fat. Long lingering and very tasty finish with abundant harmonious flavours”.
John, who is the current Butcher of the Year in the UK, said Scotland is too wet to produce the quality of meat that is produced in Spain.
He said: “A lot of work goes into forming the best ham in the world.
“We’ve been talking about doing this for almost two years and it’s only now that we’ve got it on site and ready to go.
“Basically, the size and the fat in an animal has to be a certain grade for the ham to be able to age well.
“You need the right breed of pig first and foremost and then you need the dry-aired conditions of Northern Spain for producing such quality ham.
“Unfortunately due to our damp climate it’s something that just can’t be done in Scotland.”
The unique taste is due to acorns eaten by pigs from encina oak trees in Spain are rich in oleic acid which finds it way into the fat of the animal, which has led to the pigs being nicknamed “olives with legs”.
The ageing process of hams can take up to three years, as the meat is chilled each night to allow them to firm, before being covered in Andalucian sea salt in the morning.
John, who has been a butcher since he left school in 1989, said he has received interest in the meat all over the globe.
He said: “We will be punting them right across the country. We’ve had interest from abroad too, especially in France.
“Even in Spain itself, there’s someone there who is desperate to try it.
“We’re all about producing 100% quality ham. We try to treat ham as if it’s royalty and our customers are so important to us.”
In 2010, a leg of Iberico ham, worth #1,800, went on sale at Selfridges in Oxford Street, London.