DOP is the acronym for “Denominación de Origen Protegida”, which means Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO). It refers to the area where a food product belongs and it determines the features, quality and criteria that these products must meet. It is a way to protect producers with a specific reputation in a determined region from others outside of that region or other producers that do not meet the established quality standards.
There are many examples with olive oil, wine (Rioja, Ribera del Duero…), chesees… The same thing happens with Iberian Ham.
In Spain it is possible to find Iberian pigs mostly on the west side of the country, next to Portugal. The climate, the orography and the flora in this area is perfect for breeding these animals. in this area there are forests and pastures with many different types of oaks. These trees are a key element for the production of jamon iberico since they produce the favourite seed of iberian pigs: acorns.
For that reason, most of DOPs are located in regions like Salamanca, Cáceres, Badajoz, Córdoba or Huelva. In this map below you can check the location of each DOP.
Located in the province of Salamanca, this is the most productive PDO in Spain. Approximately 60% of the Spanish jamon iberico belong to this area.
Some famous brands from this region are Fermín or Aljomar.
Probably the most famous one because of the most known brand of Jamon Iberico: 5 JOTAS. There are many other producers in this area, but 5J is one of the benchmarks in Spain and in many other countries because of the quality of its products.
This area has always been well-known for the production of cured ham.
This might be one of the PDO less known outside of Spain, but this region is located right in the center of the natural north-south line of woods and pastures containing regular oaks, holm oaks and gall oaks.
One of the most famous brands from this region is Señorío de Montanera.