The Arturo Sánchez family cultivates an extraordinary heritage in the world of Iberian ham production. With a passionate commitment to tradition, quality and care for the environment, they have transformed their family business into a renowned name synonymous with exceptional Iberian pork products. What began as a bold venture in the late 1960s under the leadership of Arturo Sánchez Martín, the second generation of the family, has evolved into a thriving company, now headed by Arturo Sánchez Gómez, representing the third generation.
Arturo Sánchez’s journey is a testament to the enduring spirit of craftsmanship and the relentless pursuit of perfection. Over the years, the company has evolved, focusing on innovation, while remaining rooted in deep respect for nature and traditional production methods. This generational involvement in the production of Iberian ham has not only defined their identity, but also elevated them to a prominent position in the culinary world.
The Best Chef: What inspired your family to embark on a journey of producing the highest quality Iberian ham? How has that passion evolved over the generations?
Arturo Sánchez: Several decades ago, in the heart of the Guijuelo region, a bold and passionate vision emerged that gave rise to what we know today as the prestigious Arturo Sánchez company. With a deep respect for nature, the Sánchez family embarked on the exciting task of producing Iberian pork products, making their name synonymous with quality and tradition.
Arturo Sánchez began as a company at the end of the 60s, when Arturo Sánchez Martín (2nd generation), father of the current CEO (Arturo Sánchez Gómez, 3rd generation) decided to become independent from the family business that his father created in Campillo de Salvatierra at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1917.
In recent years, under the direction of the third and fourth generations, they have moved towards the future on a path of expansion linked to research and innovation without renouncing the traditional production of Iberian ham and sausages, values transmitted from generation to generation.
The Best Chef: Can you share some insights into the specific factors that contribute to your Iberian ham’s exceptional quality? How do you guarantee consistent excellence in every batch?
Arturo Sánchez: First of all, we select the pigs according to our breed, age and feeding requirements. Secondly, because our pigs do two montaneras. The role of acorns in the diet of the Iberian pig is key to obtaining a good product, but our desire for excellence has led to the differential characteristic of our Ibericos: the two montaneras. Season after season, we wait until our 100% Iberian acorn-fed pigs are two years old and, therefore, can feed on acorns for two montaneras, weighing 180-190 kilos each. This translates into a much redder ham meat, with a higher quality fat due to its great richness in oleic acid and a product with more antioxidant properties. In short, it results in authentic gastronomic jewels.
And lastly because we flee from the artificial. There are no better ingredients than excellent raw materials and the passage of time. Therefore, we do not accelerate the natural process. All our products are dried in our natural dryers and cellars with the climate as the only ally. Our symbiosis with nature creates an excellent, healthy product with a unique flavor.
The Best Chef: With increasing awareness of sustainable practices, how does Arturo Sánchez company approach environmental responsibility in the production and distribution of Iberian ham?
Arturo Sánchez: At Arturo Sánchez we continue to work in an artisanal way, avoiding all kinds of polluting technological machines. As good Iberian artisans, we manually hang each of the pieces preserving the spaces between them so that they do not overlap and that the wind heals them on all four sides. Once hung in the natural drying sheds, the weather becomes their best ally and they let the winds act when necessary, while they open and close the drying shed windows at the precise moment of the day and shed by shed. That is the science of the company, to observe how each piece evolves daily, one by one, to transfer it to another warehouse when necessary. The wise combination of the dryers provides the special character that our products have.
The Best Chef: Over the years, consumer preferences and dietary habits have evolved. How have you adapted Arturo Sánchez product line to meet changing demands while staying true to your heritage?
Arturo Sánchez: For example, in chorizo we have adapted the original formula, much stronger and spicy, to a milder one but preserving what we believe characterizes our flavor.
The Best Chef: Iberian ham has a deep-rooted cultural significance. How does Arturo Snachez company actively contribute to preserving and promoting this cultural heritage both domestically and internationally?
Arturo Sánchez: Very simple: preserving the artisanal manufacturing method learned for generations. Today, practically all companies have forgotten this, and have begun to produce in industrial format.
The Best Chef: Spain’s unique climate and landscape play a significant role in Iberian ham production. How do you work with local farmers and suppliers to ensure the highest quality raw materials for your products?
Arturo Sánchez: At Arturo Sánchez we have been working exclusively with our farmers for more than 50 years, owners of the best pastures in the north of Seville and the south of Extremadura. As true experts in raising the Iberian pig, they see dawn and dusk in the pasture, supervising that their animals are fed properly and develop freely. By walking more, through large pastures, ravines and in the open air, the pigs get more exercise, providing a different meat: with a better texture, more oxygen and with better fat infiltration.
The Best Chef: As a family-owned business, what are the core values and principles that guide your company’s operations, and how do they influence your relationships with employees, customers, and partners?
Arturo Sánchez: The legacy of Arturo Sánchez has 10 fundamental principles that are passed from generation to generation to continue with a long tradition of creating Iberian products.
- A unique and exclusive product
- Our pigs are born and raised in the pasture and always live in freedom
- Everything you need is in the pasture
- Our pigs are fed with acorns for two montaneras, twice as long as usual.
- We flee from the artificial.
- Everything happens in the wineries and each winery is different
- We let nature act
- Neither clocks nor calendars should be placed in the dryers
- We apply these same principles with sausages
- Our truth only manifests itself in one place: in the mouths of our consumers.