Friday, November 18, 2005

Restaurant 65: Museo de Jamon (Madrid, Spain)

Clockwise from top left: El Museo de Jamon in Madrid; Tortilla with Jamon y Manchego; All parts of the pigs. Man do Spaniards take their pork seriously; A display of pig parts in Barcelona's central market.

RESTAURANT: Museo de Jamon
DATE: August 21, 2005
LOCATION: Calle de Goya, Madrid, Spain
FOOD: Tortilla with House Ham and Cheese on Integral Roll; Pastry Espanade
DRINK: Water
PRICE: 5.00 Euros

The contemporary art world has changed the museum from a place only to show art into a work of art in itself. As countless literary theorists have pointed out, the aesthetic line separating what hangs on the walls and the very walls on which they hang has largely been obliterated. The avant-garde’s legacy has been less to show us how art is everywhere around us, but rather the very subjectivity of what we consider art in the first place.

Well who knows how Duchamp or even Picasso would have responded to the numerous Madrid locations of El Museo de Jamon. For at this museum, the art is edible and it comes prepared by the strong, yet loving hands of burly Spanish butchers. The museum could be seen as a testament to Spain’s love of all things pork. Whole cured hams hang from the ceiling, seeming to number in the hundreds, like the finest vintages in a wine cellar. The choices of pork at the Museum is astonishing, but the house speciality, more like a pancetta than jamon is why the museum deserves its lofty name.

The pork is the color of dark cherries. The meat possess the perfect level of saltiness and while adequately tender, forces the diner to chew with concentration in greedy indulgence. Sewed into the puff embrace of a Spanish tortilla, lined by Manchego sheep’s cheese, there can be few things more authentically Spanish or more divinely pleasurable. If all contemporary art was as enjoyable, the world’s museums would seem far less austere. But any place with the gall to name itself the museum of any meat, let alone ham – well you know it’s got to be good.

RATING: 7.7/10 Posted by Picasa

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