The special aroma and the exquisite sweetness are the result of selecting the best thighs, together with accurate hand salting and made all the more precious by slow natural curing of 18-20 months.
The slice, pink and uniform, features slight marbling.
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Prosciutto di Parma boasts a thousand-years-old history probably influenced by the presence in the region of salty springs.
Already in the Roman age the production areas were famous for pig farming and ham production, as witnessed by Cato in his De Agricoltura of the second century BC and Polybius, Strabo, Horace and others who when describing the celebrations for Hannibal's entry into Parma in 217 BC record that he was offered salt cured hams.
Prosciutto di Parma is produced following a strict set of regulations that the Consortium imposes on the producers to regulate all production stages, according to a precise methodology in full compliance with tradition.
The pigs designated for Prosciutto di Parma are the result of strict selection: minimum age 9 months, weight no less than 150kg.
After selecting, the thighs are left to 'stand' for 24 hours in suitable cooling cells. In this way the meat firms up and may be trimmed more easily.
Trimming consists in removing part of the fat and rind aimed at promoting subsequent salting and give to the product its characteristic round shape. In this stage the thighs are further selected and those that have even minimal blemishes are scrapped.
The next step is salting, a critical aspect of the production process because exactly in this stage the product takes on its unmistakeable sweetness. This is carried out by means of two procedures: the rind parts are treated with moist salt, while the lean ones are spread with dry salt. The process is repeated twice and it is fundamental in this stage for the thigh temperature to be optimal and consistent.
After the residual salt is removed, Prosciutto di Parma is placed in another cell, called a "rest" one, for a time ranging from 60 to 80 days. It is essential in this stage for the prosciutto to be able to 'breathe', preventing it from getting too damp or too dry, therefore the air exchange in cells takes place very often.
At the end of the rest a wash with warm water is carried out to remove any salt crystals or impurities. This is then followed by drying and pre-curing, carried out in wide rooms with juxtaposed windows, called "scalere" (ladders), using the natural environmental conditions typical of this area.
The next step is "sugnatura", or "sueting", a process during which the uncovered muscle part of the ham is covered with suet, i.e. a mixture of pork lard with salt and ground pepper, which is sometimes also added with rice flour. The purpose of this stage is to soften the superficial muscle layers, preventing unevenness in drying.
Prosciutto di Parma is then moved to the "cellars", rooms at a lower temperature and less ventilated than the pre-curing rooms, which by law must be located in the typical production area. During curing the environmental features of this area, together with important bio-chemical and enzymatic processes result in the characteristic aroma and flavour of Crudo di Parma.
'Probing' is the last step in the process and is carried out at the end of curing. It is a fundamental olfactory type examination, carried out by experts by inserting a horse bone needle in various points of the Prosciutto. If the examination confirms the production process has been successful, the 5-tip Crown is fire-branded. This is an actual State mark and guarantees absolute compliance with the traditional methodology and features of Prosciutto di Parma.
|Weight||Apx. 10 kg|
|Preservation||Max 17° C|
|Colour||Uniform light pink salmon with soft marbling|
|Taste||Sweet with almond aroma|
|Ingredienti||Pig leg and salt|