Born in Bearn and nowhere else!Once upon a time, there was an exceptionally salted spring in which fell a wounded boar, shot by Prince Gaston Fébus. The animal’s body was found months later, perfectly preserved.
Legend has it that this is how salting was invented in the Adour Bay. This tale introduces one of our most exquisite products: Bayonne Ham with Salies-de-Béarn salt.
First off, let us point out that the first hams where created here, in Bearn! In those days, they bore the names of the locations in which they were produced: Orthez ham, Lahontan ham, Garris ham… Due to the Basque Country’s intense port activity, the hams were exported from the city of Bayonne, which gave its name to the famous product " Bayonne Ham".
A ham famous for centuries
The salting techniques are conceived according to traditional principles, applied and adjusted over several stages: salting, resting, drying, coating known as pannage, maturing, probe testing. A true expertise!
During the 16th century, Jeanne d’Albret and her son Henri IV favoured the Bayonne Ham at their table. They introduced the product to royalty during King Louis XIV’s wedding in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, acting as the ham’s first ambassadors.
The devil is in the details
What makes the Salies-de-Béarn salt so exceptional ? This mineral salt comes from very ancient coats of salt hidden in the depths of the Pyrénées Mountains. Salies-de-Béarns’ millenary salt is naturally rich in trace elements, such as magnesium, calcium and iron - 26 minerals and trace elements total !
This salt stems directly from the mother-waters, which have great medicinal properties. A great deal of qualities, perfect to give some spice to our hams!
To dive deeper into the history behind the famous hams, the House of Bayonne Ham in Arzacq created a museum filled with surprises and flavours. The Salines Museum, in Salies-de-Béarn, invites you to take a look at the Salines’ activity with a presentation of the different stages of the fabrication, all the way to the crystallization of this spring salt.