Value for money

Tue, May 8, 2012, 01:00

Parma Ham

Marks & Spencer Deli Parma Ham 

€5.49 for 75g, €73.20 per kg

Marks and Spencer says this larger pack offers better value for money, and well it might, but it is still rather expensive and there is a lot of ham to get through. It is, however, lovely. The slices are super thin and they almost melt in the mouth. Each slice is very lean and very dry. And very salty. While we like salt as much as the next product reviewer, we felt there was just a little too much of it rubbed into this ham and we would have liked some more of the pork flavours to shine through.

Verdict: Great value

Star rating:****

Aldi Specially Selected Parma Ham

€2.99 for 90g, €32.22 per kg

This is good value for money and while it is not as nice as the high-end products, it still tastes very good indeed, and we ate far more of it than was probably necessary. The slices are very thin and the salt and pork flavours are nicely balanced. It was a little fattier than we would have liked and the texture was ever so slightly greasy, although when the packaging was opened and it was left to breathe for a little while, the texture improved considerably. We reckon you would struggle to find a comparable product at this price in any other supermarket or deli in the land.

Verdict: Grand

Star rating: ***


€2.99 for 90g, €32.22 per kg

This ham is proof that while many Parma hams may come in the same packaging, all Parma hams are not the same. We did not like this at all, largely because it was very fatty, too greasy and far too chewy for our tastes. It is identical to the Aldi option in terms of taste and price, so it is a great pity the texture let it down. It actually tastes rather pleasant once you get beyond that and it balances the pork and salt flavours quite nicely. While it may be sacrilegious to suggest frying something as delicate and refined as Parma ham, we tried it with this and it was very nice indeed.


Star rating:

Best of Italy

€2.34 €29 per kg

This is one of those very rare products that is miles ahead of most of the competition in terms of taste, texture, appearance and, crucially, price. Cut to order in a very well regarded Italian deli in Ranelagh, it is absolutely gorgeous and almost melts in the mouth. It is salty without being excessively so, and the pork flavours are allowed to shine through too. It will be hard for many readers to access, admittedly, but for those lucky enough to live in Dublin’s leafy southside suburbs, this is worth going out of your way to find.

Verdict: The best of the bunch

Star rating:*****

Fallon & Byrne

€2.97 for 106g €28 per kg

Well! As we live and breath, Fallon and Byrne have managed to deliver a product that is not only much better than most of the competition, it is also the cheapest product we reviewed this week, and while we have a soft spot for this shop, we don’t often commend it for its cheapness. Leaving the price aside, this ham is wonderful, is has a smooth richness to it and when it comes to taste, it only loses out in taste terms by the smallest margin. It will also be easier for those of us who live within striking distance of Dublin, but not in any of its leafy southside suburbs, to get our hands on. Based on this quality and this price, we’ll be shopping here for our Parma ham from here on in.

Verdict: A very close second

Star rating: ****