Pdo and Parma’s area

A millenary, ancient, tradition, based on simple tecniques but with a need of respect and knowledge: Prosciutto di Parma Pdo is 100% natural, with no preservatives added, only pork meat and sea salt. The hidden ingredients are the skills of master involved in the production and the micro wheather conditions of Parma’s hills, with delicate and dry air used to dry the meat. The production of Prosciutto di Parma Pdo is possibile only in a limited area, from 5 km South of Parma to 900 meters altitude in Apennini Mountains, between rivers Enza and Stirane. This area has ideal climate conditions for natural aging of Prosciutto di Parma Pdo. The production is codified in a “book of rules” called disciplinare, a guide that all Prosciutto di Parma producers must stricly follow, without any change: at the end the inspection by a third company called Istituto Parma Qualità, certify that the prosciutto inspected is a real Prosciutto di Parma Pdo and the tight is fire branded with the famous “crown” brand, a inconfondibile brand that means to the consumer, naturality, respect of the tradition, excellence and inique taste. To transform a fresh pork tight in a Prosciutto di Parma Pdo, the production pass trhu codified steps: meat selection, cooling/trimming, salting, rest, washing/drying, pre-curing/trimming, greasing, maturing, quality test/aging.

Pigs breeded for Prosciutto di Parma production come from 10 Northern/central italian region, from Large White, Landrace and Duroc hybrid, feeded with corn, barley, leftover whey from Parmigiano

Reggiano production, more than 9 months old, around 160kg wheight. Only with this caracteristiques thights can enter into Prosciutto di Parma production chain.

COOLING/TRIMMING
Fresh pork tights arte cooled to 0° and trimmed to obtain the caracteristic round shape

SALTING
It is important at this stage that the tights have an adequate and uniform temperature. After a first salting period called “primo sale”, in wich thights rested one week with salt on shelves in a 2-4° degrees room, the residual salt is removed and they are covered again with a thin coat of salt. Finally they are put in another cold store called “secondo sale”, where they stay for 15 to18 days, according to their weight.

Fresh pork tights arte cooled to 0° and trimmed to obtain the caracteristic round shape.
It is important at this stage that the tights have an adequate and uniform temperature. After a first salting period called “primo sale”, in wich thights rested one week with salt on shelves in a 2-4° degrees room, the residual salt is removed and they are covered again with a thin coat of salt. Finally they are put in another cold store called “secondo sale”, where they stay for 15 to18 days, according to their weight.
After removing the residual salt, rests for 60 to 80 days in stores often aired. During this phase the ham has to “breathe” without becoming either too wet or too dry.
The hams are washed with warm water to eliminate possible salt and impurities. Drying is carried out in natural conditions.
Hams are hung on special wood frames called “scalere” in rooms with big windows to catch airflows. The airflow regulation is very important: windows are opened with regard to the ratios of internal/external humidity and internal humidity/product humidity. This allows for a constant and gradual drying of the hams.
During this phase the cavity around the bare part of the bone, the uncovered muscular mass are covered with lard, a mixture of minced pig fat and some salt and pepper and rice farina.

The greasing softens the superficial muscular layers so that the external layers don’t dry too rapidly. It also allows further humidity loss.

In the 7th month from the beginning, the ham is transferred to the “cellars”, rooms with less air and light where the sounding, an essential phase in the “ham life”, is carried out. Losing moisture, and important biochimic and enzymatic process into the meat transform a dry pork tight into a Prosciutto di Parma, with a caracteristic aroma.
After 12 months, an expert from Istituto Parma Qualità using the traditional tool, a horse bone needle, which rapidly absorbs the product fragrances, insert it in different parts of the ham and smelt to verify the development of the production process. Only the one that fits the standards are fire-branding with the ducal crown, the final guarantee that all the processing stages have been carried out correctly.