Emilia-Romagna’s food culture can boast a multitude of high quality, cured pork salami amongst its most renowned specialities. Of all these delicacies, special mention most definitely goes to PDO Prosciutto di Modena.
Made from the thigh of the heavy Large White breed of pig, this cured salami is made exclusively in the hilly area surrounding the basin of the Panaro river valleys and tributaries, never exceeding 900 metres in altitude. Authoritative findings and sources have turned this area into an essential point of reference for the processing and curing of pork, which seems to have been the case as far back as the Etruscan age.
The quality of this prosciutto and all the stages involved in making it are subject to strict control by its namesake consortium, which has been monitoring the cured ham's organoleptic and nutritional properties since 1969. In 1996, this prosciutto earned its PDO indication.
The raw ingredients that go into this cured ham are crucial. These must come exclusively from animals born, raised and butchered in the Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Molise, Umbria, Tuscany, Marche, Abruzzo, Lazio and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, except in the case of sows and boars.
The first step in the process involves trimming the fresh thigh meat. Next, the meat is cured (in two salting stages), left to rest and then washed and dried out, and finally aged for at least 14 months. After all the appropriate checks have been run, the cured ham finally receives the quality seal.
PDO Prosciutto di Modena is a worthy ally in the kitchen. Happily paired with melon and figs, which bring out the best of the ham’s flavour, this prosciutto is first and foremost an essential component of a multitude of traditional recipes, such as the filling for Modena’s tortellini stuffed pasta.