Many would call ‘prosciutto’ an Italian ham or bacon. They may go as far as to say it is very thinly sliced and slightly salty. But do you really know what prosciutto is? Do you know how it differs from pancetta? Do you know what makes prosciutto di Parma so unique?
How Prosciutto di Parma is made
All prosciutto is made from the hind legs of pigs, not from the pork belly like pancetta or bacon. It is dry-aged, through generous salting, anywhere from 2 months to 3 years in a dry and cool place. Once fully cured, the excess fat around the legs is removed leaving only a thin layer around the outside. This layer of fat gives prosciutto its rich, buttery flavor that pairs so well with many Italian wines and cheeses. Prosciutto is then sliced paper-thin for enjoying. The PDO is a certification that verifies the high quality and standards of food products from Europe. Only two types of prosciutto have this designation, Prosciutto di San Daniele and Prosciutto di Parma.
Prosciutto di Parma is distinct in many ways. There are no chemicals or additives used, so the flavor is 100% natural. It is produced only in the region of Parma, Italy, where the breed of the pigs and the fresh air make a perfect combination for delicious prosciutto.
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is also made in the north-central region of Parma. The pigs in Parma are fed leftover whey from the cheesemaking process which gives it a slightly nutty (as opposed to sweet) taste. To be considered prosciutto di Parma, the pigs must be on a strict diet and of a certain age, breed, and weight. The only ingredients that can be added
are premium Italian sea salt, air, and time.
The “salt master’s” application of the salt is exact. They judge by look and feel to avoid over-salting the ham while applying just the right amount of salt to cure the meat properly. A minimum of 400 days curing is required for Prosciutto di Parma, though some are cured up for to 3 years. During this specific curing process, the hams are rotated through several different curing chambers until they are fully cured. Then, they are hung for final air-drying in rooms with large windows where the mountain air gives the ham it’s final flavor. Lastly, Prosciutto di Parma is inspected for quality. The meats are pierced with a horse bone needle to absorb the aromas, sniffed to make sure they are of the highest quality. A stamp of approval is branded on the Prosciutto di Parma before they are shipped out around the world.
Campania selects only the best Italian ingredients to provide a truly authentic experience for our guests, including San Marzano tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, and of course, Prosciutto di Parma.