Txanton: Inside the country's first jamoneria
The temple where fans of fine wines and hams come to worship.
2/F Alegria Alta, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City
Contact: 812-2040 (local 112)
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Walk into high-end Spanish deli Txanton (pronounced shahn-tón) and you quickly know they are serious about food and wine. It is the first jamoneria of its kind in the Philippines.
"Even visiting Spaniards admit there is nothing like this in their country," says general manager Besay Gonzalez. The interiors exude quiet elegance, allowing their customers to indulge in comfortable, peaceful surroundings. Besay—one of the original owners of popular tapas pioneer Barcino—admits that they attract a mixed crowd, anywhere from the well-traveled and affluent to the young and adventurous. The common denominator, of course, is a love for jamon and wine.
It's like a wine and ham lover's dream.
The retail arm of Antique Wine Cellar, Txanton prides itself on selling only the best hams, chorizos, anchovies, olive oil, and wines from all over the world. The wine selection boasts the finest first-growth Bordeaux, rare Massetos, and, of course, the most well-loved Spanish Riojas. They encourage you to consume these in Zalto stemware, the best in the world, to magnify an already ethereal experience.
Wines meant to complement the hams
Only the best are available at Txanton
The wines are meant to complement the hams. There are some jamon Serrano on hand, but people come for the jamon Iberico. These are from Iberian black pigs, a breed you can only find in Spain. There are different kinds from many regions, but the best of the lot is de Bellota, black pigs that consume large amounts of acorns as they roam free on hilly farms. The results, as you should discover for yourselves, are remarkable.
The type of glass affects the taste, so Txanton is particular with that, too.
An assortment of gin
Although Txanton is not a restaurant, you can sample their products in the main room they call La Tienda or "the store." Wines by the glass are dispensed from an Enomatic, which keep open bottles fresh for much longer. Newbies can opt for the Pazo Senorans 2013 (P365/glass)—a bright, fruity white wine from Rias Baixas. But if you want something more traditionally Spanish, a glass of Vina Pomal Riserva 2011 (P615) is a typical Rioja with its subdued fruit note and slight heft. Both are very easy to drink, even more so with the jamon.
A lesson in ham...
These babies are carved upon order—by a master carver, no less!
Jamon Iberico de Bellota
Your Iberico journey
For the uninitiated, Besay recommends the Tasting of Jamon de Bellota (P750) to experience the different nuances in flavor from the four regions (Salamanca, Extremadura, Jabugo, and Córdoba) that produce this fine ham. A master carver is always on hand to slice these manually from cured legs of the Iberian pig. It melts almost instantaneously in your mouth. The Bellota Pedroches (Córdoba) has the most complexity, with a rich, nutty finish similar to aged Gruyere.
Pan y Aceites
Traditional tapas are also available to accompany the hams and to fill you up so you can enjoy the wines for a longer time. The kitchen makes an excellent Tortilla Española (P140 to P325)—an omelette of potatoes and cheese that's warm and moist. The Pan y Aceites (P275 to P395) is simple enough, allowing Txanton's fine olive oils to take center stage. Just rub raw garlic and tomato on warm, rustic bread; dip it in the oil; then season with their assortment of salts.
La Sala de Cata
La Gran Añada
For larger groups, they have two private rooms. La Sala de Cata is "the tasting room" and seats 12 on comfortable stools and high tables. It's perfect for small social gatherings which are more interactive. If a laid-back setting is more your style, La Gran Añada fits 10 persons comfortably and allows you to dine in the midst of their rarest and most luxurious bottles of wine.
For more information on Txanton, check out their website.
Photos by Majoy Siason