A ham carving training that was financed with aid from the European Union was held in Beijing on April 20. The Beijing event was the second session, with the first one taking place in Chongqing in March, and was aimed to popularize European hams among gourmands and food business players in the capital city.
Ham is a signature in Spanish cuisine, says Jesus Varela de Leon, the economic and commercial counselor at the embassy of Spain in Beijing. "It can be used not only to prepare tapas, a classic Spanish snack, but also as an ingredient in cooking dishes," he says. "Ham cutting is a kind of performance, and many people think it is also an art."
Joao Falardo, the economic and commercial counselor at the embassy of Portugal in Beijing, was also present at the event.
Besides pork meat, the Chinese market has been showing growing curiosity for Portuguese wine; beer and spirits; as well as Portuguese fruits; the frozen fishery products, like live lobster and crabs; canned food and dairy products, Falardo says.
In the past 10 years, the Portuguese agri-food products exported to China have increased by more than 10 times, he says. In 2021 alone, pork meat, fish, seafood, wine and beer were among the most exported Portuguese products to China, amounting to 73 million euros ($79.56 million). "Pork meat is, without surprise, among the most exported Portuguese food products to China," Falardo says.