U.S. ham lovers rejoiced when it was announced last year that Spain’s treasured Iberico ham would finally arrive on these shores (legally, I mean, not smuggled in your luggage giving all your underwear a deliciously smoky aroma). But, mouths awater, those ham fans are still awaiting the tardy arrival of their object of desire.

Iberico ham is a nutty, pungent dry-cured ham from the Iberian pig. It apparently is so mind-altering that it causes even food writers’ brains to freeze up and renders them unable to describe its deliciousness.

The $50-$100 per pound ham has been awaiting USDA approval. The approval was been expected six months ago, but the paperwork hit a snag (perhaps a rabid vegetarian within the USDA shredded it). But an article in the Portland Oregonian entitled “You’ll savor the experience of Spanish iberico ham —eventually,” says that within the month Iberico pork products like chorizo and salchichon should be arriving, with the Iberico hams expected this summer.

But the really good stuff, the belotta hams that come from pigs fed only acorns and herbs and aged an extra long time, won’t be here until summer of 2008. Start planning your parties now.

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