In compliance with the Prosciutto di Parma PDO regulation, fresh haunches come exclusively from pigs that are born and bred in Italy.
We only select and use pork from āmatureā pigs because it is the most suitable for processing and for lengthy maturation.
Haunches are selected one by one to make sure they have no defects and a minimum weight of 14 kg.
After resting for one night in a cold room to stabilise the temperature, the fresh haunches are handled by an expert who measures salt according to the weight and fat percentage of the haunch.
A second salting process takes place one week later, then the residual salt is removed, the haunch is massaged by hand to favour an even penetration of salt in the meat.
Two weeks later, hams are hanged for the first time on racks and placed in resting rooms for about 100 days.
At the end of this period of time, hams are trimmed to remove any hanging pieces of meat and part of the hip bone. A thorough washing follows.
Hams are moved into new premises for a first maturation. These are climate controlled rooms designed to maintain an optimum temperature/humidity balance.
Finally, hams are hanged on the traditional wooden shelves and the wide opposite windows favour a natural ventilation that will significantly contribute to the development of meat flavour and aroma.
When matured seven months, the meat part around the bone is covered by hand applying a thin layer of smear, a mixture of pork fat, rice flour, salt and pepper.
This critical operation is required to protect and soften the lean part of the haunch.
At this point, hams continue their maturation process until they are twelve month old; they undergo a rigorous control and are hot-iron branded with the crown of the Parma Ham Consortium.
During the final maturation in our cellars, hams are checked periodically, one by one, using a pointed needle made from a horse bone.
Its porosity traps the meat aromas and flavours, and by smelling them our experts can understand the degree of maturation and the quality of each individual piece. This is so until the end of the maturation process.