The people of parma are very proud of this product and justifiably so.
The legs of pork are carefully selected from pigs that have been fed on the whey from the nearby Reggiano cheese factories. This gives the pork a deep, intra-muscular marbling and distinctive sweetness. If the legs pass the initial inspection, they are then massaged and pressed with salt and cured for 8-10 weeks.
|Hams hanging after the initial salting and fermentation period.|
After this the hams are trimmed and have a small section of bone removed. This is to facilitate drying of the bone.
|Trimming of the meat around the bone.|
|Gianlucca from Ferrarini pointing out the sugna. It is the white substance applied to the lower portion of the hams.|
The hams are then moved to a cellar to continue the long and slow proscess of maturation. It will take a minumum of 18mth but often as long as 24months to produce great prosciutto di parma.
When the hams are finished maturation, an inspector from the consortium of parma producers tests the ham using a sharp bone from the shin of a horse. He will use a horse bone as it will hold the smell of the internal ham for only a fraction of a second, which is necessary as they will be usually testing hundred of hams at a time. On the consortiums approval a fire branded mark will be applied. It is only then that the ham becomes Prosciutto di Parma. This fire brand, together with a metal stud applied earlier, identifies the ham and certifies the quality for the consumer.
|Horse shin boned used by the consortium for testing.|
|The fire brand of Prosciutto di Parma.|
|The metal stud applied early in the production is one of the indicator of true Proscuitto di Parma|