You’ve been eating it for years and have always enjoy that sweet, soft, buttery goodness. But, what is prosciutto exactly?
Prosciutto, which translates to “ham” in Italian, is made only from the hind legs of pigs and is aged during a dry-curing process. There are typically two types of prosciutto: prosciutto cotto, which is cooked, and prosciutto crudo, which is uncooked and is most popular to enjoy on its own, wrapped around fruit or used on charcuterie boards.
What Makes Prosciutto Different?
- What is prosciutto exactly that sets it apart from other cured hams? This Italian ham is not to be confused with bacon or pancetta, both of which are made from the pork belly and must be cooked in order to eat. Learn more about what separates Prosciutto di Parma from other hams.
Buying Prosciutto di Parma
- You can find prosciutto at many gourmet deli counters and specialty food stores, either pre-packaged or available for slicing. However, there is a specific method for serving and enjoying prosciutto; it should be sliced paper thin with a bit of fat around the edge, which boasts 50% of its distinct flavor. Remember the fat is what makes Prosciutto di Parma unique; never ask for it to be removed. Take a look at some of our restaurant and retail Prosciutto di Parma Specialists around the United States.
Production and the Curing Process
- The quality of prosciutto is based entirely on the curing process. The history of prosciutto production originated in Italy thousands of years ago and sets Prosciutto di Parma apart from other prosciuttos. Made under strict quality controls only in Parma, Italy, the ham is produced only using specially bred pigs, sea salt, air and time.
Prosciutto di Parma renders a remarkable reputation and nuance of flavor, which is why the product is so highly regarded. It is 100% natural and contains no additives, preservatives or hormones. Learn more about the curing process.
History of Prosciutto di Parma
The history of Prosciutto di Parma dates back to ancient Roman times when Cato the “Censor” first mentioned the extraordinary flavor of the air-cured ham made around the town of Parma in Italy; the legs were left to dry, greased with a little oil and could age without spoiling, leading to a tasty meat with a pleasant flavor. The famous Italian ham even makes a cameo in the world’s first mock heroic poem by Alessandro Tassoni, La secchia rapita, published in 1622.
- In 1996, largely due to the efforts of the Consorzio, Prosciutto di Parma became one of the first products to be awarded the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. PDO is a European Community certification system designed to protect names and traditions of high-quality European foods, made according to traditional methods in a defined geographic region.
About the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma
- The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma represents the Italian producers whose families have made Prosciutto di Parma for thousands of years. It was established in 1963 by 23 members producing 53,000 branded hams who wanted to protect and promote their product throughout the world. The Consorzio now has grown into a family of 150 Prosciutto di Parma producers supplying nearly 9 million hams annually to markets globally. The production of every Parma Ham is still regulated by the strict laws defining the characteristics of Prosciutto di Parma, identified by the Parma Crown branded on every ham.
Learn why Prosciutto di Parma is the best choice for Italian ham and beyond.
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