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Valencia-province village gives free Serrano ham to residents (plus vegetarian options)
Wednesday, December 21, 2022 @ 7:59 PM

A VILLAGE in southern Valencia province has handed out free legs of Serrano ham to all its residents 'to combat the effects of inflation'.

Screen shot from a street interview in Beniflà by the talk show Espejo Público (photo by Atresplayer, which operates channel Antena 3)

Beniflà, midway between the larger towns of Oliva and Gandia, about 20 minutes by car from the coast and backing onto the neighbouring villages of La Font d'En Carròs and Rafelcofer, is home to just 463 people – but mayor Borja Gironés' Christmas giveaway still cost around €10,000.

Serrano ham is a luxury food item normally kept for special occasions, and the annual Christmas Eve night family dinner in Mediterranean Spain will probably include it along with huge platefuls of seafood, particularly prawns.

But a full leg of Serrano ham can cost upwards of €100, and even buying a few slices from the delicatessen counter can be expensive.

With inflation in Spain forecast to remain above 3.5% until at least 2024, according to the European Central Bank (BCE) – which also, fortunately, predicts the country will escape a recession – the usual high expenses of the festive season are either likely to be curbed this year or will leave residents struggling for longer when the New Year comes.

Gironés said the idea was initially motivated 'to help with the Covid financial crisis', but was 'so popular' among residents that his local government team opted to make it an annual scheme.

The first time locals were able to claim their free leg of ham was over Christmas 2020, meaning this year's holidays will be the third time running.

Given that not every household will be able to consume a whole Serrano ham before it goes off, most families have opted to take home just one per unit, meaning Beniflà council hands out a typical 210 every year.

Does this mean that vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians – people who eat fish but not meat – will miss out on their free Christmas dinner, though?



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