Posted: 11 Dec 2014

FIVE OF THE BEST CHRISTMAS HAMS

Ham

Do you really know your ham comes from? The meat might be smoked and processed in Australia, but where was the pork grown? As we slide into Christmas, the season of fabulous ham, let’s talk about the facts.

Sadly, two-thirds of all ham in our supermarket fridges uses frozen imported pork. Every week, about $10 million worth of frozen imported pork arrives on our shores to be processed PorkMark logointo ham and other smallgoods. That’s 2.7 million kilos of meat, or about 52,000 pigs, and there’s no way of knowing how those animals were raised. Unless you buy a ham direct from the butcher or pork farmer who made it, the only way to guarantee Aussie-grown is to look for the Australian PorkMark logo (left).

Experts from Australian Pork tasted 123 hams from across the country for the 2014 Australian PorkMark Ham Awards. Fleischmeister Horst Schurger and chefs Paul McDonald and Simon Bestley tested each ham for texture, aroma and – of course – taste. Here are a list of the winners.

And here are five of my local favourites…

1. Andrew’s Choice

24 Anderson St, Yarraville, 9687 2419

Andrew Vourvahakis is famous for his Christmas hams, stocking good butchers and delis around Victoria. At this year’s ham awards, his boneless ham was named best in Victoria – the latest in a long list of awards. Pre-order to avoid disappointment.

2. Wattle City Meats

85 Napier St, Maryborough, 5460 4637

John Bartlett is one of those country butchers everyone wants around the corner. Take an Esky on the two-hour drive north-west of Melbourne and pick up a leg. It’ll be worth the trip. Wattle City is another award winner, finishing in the top three for both bone-in and boneless hams this year.

3. Peter Bouchier

551 Malvern Rd, Toorak, 9827-3629,  9 Alex Ave, Moorabbin, 9553 7129 & David Jones, city

The Christmas hams at Peter Bouchier are legendary, so put your order in early. The Otway Pork hams on the bone are always juicy and full of flavour.

4. Bundarra Berkshires 

929 East Barham Rd, Barham, 0458 532 333

Just over the Murray River, Lauren and Lachy Mathers grow some seriously well-fed Berkshire pigs on the rich riverbank grazing land in Barham (avocados from the neighbor’s farm might the secret ingredient). Their hams often sell out come Christmas time, but they can still be ordered online, or find them at East Brunswick’s Hams & Bacon and Essendon’s Kennedy’s.

5. Bertocchi Smallgoods

Made in Thomastown and available in supermarkets nationally

Bertocchi’s Triple Smoked Leg Ham won the gong for the best nationally-available ham at the Australan PorkMark Ham Awards. Consistently excellent ham and easy to find.

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