Festa di Parma

Prosciutto Di Parma
30 Month Matured ‘Riserva’

The epitome of Italian gastronomic culture, Parma Ham is at risk of becoming the victim of its own success as massive worldwide demand means that top quality can no longer be assured by the crown of Parma that is branded onto every finished ham.

Our friend and supplier, Signor Dante has over 30 years experience in maturing hams. He selects them from a small producer in Corniglio, a tiny village south of Parma where the sweet mountain air adds to the character of the meat. There, Prosciuttificio Ponte Romano uses only locally reared pigs fed on a diet of corn, barley and the whey left over from Parmesan production They pay up to 25% more for their raw hams selecting for size, density and marbling, factors making them ideal for ageing.

After the initial curing process, the hams are matured in old brick drying rooms where wooden hanging rails, the current of fresh air and temperatures of up to 18?qC encourage enzymes and thus flavour development. These conditions are a world apart from the steel drying racks and concrete cold rooms with no windows or fresh air where the massive majority of Parma Hams are now produced.

As with other producers, Ponte Romano will still sell most of their hams at 12-16 months old but a minority are cured longer and sold as riserva. Dante selects these hams during the ageing process by inserting a horse bone needle deep into the meat to assess the quality. Those judged by their smell to be the best can be aged for longer. Dante, quite exceptionally, matures his prosciutti for up to 30 months for a sweeter, nutty flavour and melting texture.

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