Our Bayonne Hams production secrets
The PGI production of Bayonne Hams
THE TERROIR, OUR « IDENTITY »
The Bayonne Ham & Cured Meats division currently has two production units.
Bayonne Hams and charcuterie, in Hagetmau, in Gascony (Chalosse).
Specialty cured meats, in Coarraze, in Gascony (Béarn).
In the top 5 producers of Bayonne ham.
Établissements Baillet (Hagetmau) works with carefully selected pig breeders in the Basque Country, Chalosse and Béarn. The company, created in the early 1960s, is representative of the adage "In the pig everything is good." From slaughtering to the production of PGI Bayonne Ham, including dry cured meats, charcuterie and cutting, Baillet's quality is based on a complete and totally integrated production chain.
A speciality: sow meat
The Coarraze site (Béarn) produces dry cured meats specialties based on sow meat. This is an older, more mature, marbled and colored sow, perfectly adapted to the curing process. The range includes hams, small cured meats, sausages...
Agour perpetuates the tradition of the « tue-cochon »
From pig to Bayonne Ham, the main stages
The maturing process reproduces the natural drying conditions of the ham: the temperature of the drying sheds is regulated according to the seasons and the maturation process. Agour Bayonne Hams are matured for an average of 11 months, whereas the PGI Bayonne Ham requires 7 months of maturation. It is these extra months that give the ham its aroma. Presentation of the 3 stages of production:
Stage 1 - Salting : the ham is massaged and then buried in Salies-de-Béarn salt and spices. It is then left to rest for several weeks, depending on its weight, so that the salt can be absorbed in an optimal way.
Step 2 - Washing : the ham is washed and placed in a cold dryer (winter conditions). It begins to lose weight.
Step 3 - Long drying at moderate temperature : the water migrates, the ham breathes. It is then "breaded", i.e. coated with a mixture of fat and protein to slow down the drying process and homogenize the texture.
« It takes time to make a good ham » Agour works with selected breeders, some of whom have been loyal for over 40 years. This partnership has enabled us to develop the quality criteria of the pigs (non-GMO feed, corn, in compliance with the Bayonne PGI specifications, sufficient fat mass for the production of Bayonne Ham) to position the brand at the top of the range. Our hams, from pigs weighing over 90 kg, are matured for between 9 and 12 months, 20% longer than the average Bayonne Ham.
One of the signs of quality: the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
« To make a good ham, you need a good pig... ».
The Bayonne Ham appellation comes from a strictly defined geographical area: the Adour Basin (Basque Country, Béarn, and certain cantons bordering the Landes, Gers and Hautes-Pyrénées). It is in this area, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees, that the ideal conditions for producing a quality Bayonne Ham are found. The pigs used to make Bayonne Ham come from 22 departments in the southwest. Ask for the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), it is a guarantee of origin and quality.
But Maison Agour is even more demanding: nearly 95% of its hams come directly from pigs raised by its loyal suppliers, all of whom are located in Gascony and the Basque Country. The ham of origin approach is pushed to its logical conclusion.
Salt of Salies-de-Béarn PGI
When massage rhymes with maturing!
The Bayonne Ham & Salaisons division now has two production units.
Our Bayonne Hams are "massaged" to facilitate salt intake. The salting is done with salt from Salies-de-Béarn, which comes from salt pans discovered in the Bronze Age (1500 BC). Preserved from any pollution, it is naturally white and has an incomparable flavor. Mixtures of spices kept secret give our hams and cured meats this inimitable taste!
The first organic Bayonne Ham
At Agour, Bayonne Ham is available in organic form! The organic pig farmers respect strict specifications, which complement the PGI specifications: natural salting, hand breading, long maturing, etc. The pigs are fed with vegetable products exclusively from organic farming and 90% from the farm. For a healthy ham that respects the environment!