La Quercia's Heavenly Cured Meats

La Quercia unleashes this year's acorn-fed Tamworth charcuterie

Spain had better watch its back.

Because the meat mavens at La Quercia in Iowa have just unveiled their newest collaboration: cured meats made from acorn-fed Tamworth pigs.

The project began six years ago, when Missouri pig farmer Russ Kremer and La Quercia's Herb Eckhouse began envisioning an all-American version of Spain's jamón ibérico. Kremer's beloved Tamworth pigs, with their natural foraging abilities, seemed like a good fit. And now, three years later, 75 rosy Tamworths are yielding delicious ham.

Italian for "shoulder," the newly released Spallacia ($12 for 4 ounces) is made from the pigs' front legs, which are cured solely with sea salt, then aged at least 15 months.

When sliced into thin, delicate shavings, the Spallacia is silky and sweet, collapsing immediately in the mouth thanks to a low melting point.

In addition to the Spallacia, Tamworth coppa ($20 for 6 ounces) is now sliding into meat cases, and hardier textured meats, such as guanciale and salame, are on the horizon. But we're especially excited about the Tamworth prosciutto, which will land in stores come December.

Italy, you're next.