Prosciutto San Daniele: what is prosciutto? How to make prosciutto?
The curing process depends on a delicate balance of curing and “resting” phases: one slip and the prosciutto is ruined. Prosciutto is possessed of a delicate consistency which does not allow it to be cured just anywhere. It demands a rather particular climate. Producers of prosciutto in Veneto have known for centuries that conditions in the San Daniele area bordering Friuli affect the best results. In San Daniele whole pork hinds, including the foot, are cured. These “graduates” prosciuttos are of a pinky-red hue, marbled with veins of fat which ensure tenderness and should absolutely not be discarded. They also have a flatter pan shape, compared to Parma prosciutto which is usually rounded.
The local prosciutto producers are most proud of their famous local product: record books of the oldest prosciutto companies show that during the last century they supplied the British royal family and the imperial house of Vienna with prosciutto San Daniele.
In Italian there is a distinction between prosciutto crudo, literally “raw ham”, which is cured ham, what English speakers refer to as “prosciutto” and prosciutto cotto, “cooked ham”, which is similar to what English speakers call “ham”.
Prosciutto San Daniele
There’s a lot a person could do with a prosciutto (ham). In an Almodovar film, an exasperated housewife uses a prosciutto to kill her husband. The Italians have turned to making prosciutto a culinary work of art, dedicating 9 to 18 months to the process, depending on weight. The proof of their efforts lies in the taste and texture of the best cured prosciutto in the world, universally known as prosciutto San Daniele and prosciutto di Parma, enjoyed in paper-thin slices. In addition to these prominent prosciutto products, there are myriad Tuscan and Umbrian prosciuttos, prosciutto di montagna (mountain ham) and the greatest delicacy of them all – culatello, a legendary super-prosciutto from the Emilia region.
Prosciutto protected designation of origin
Under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, certain well-established meat products including some local prosciutto, are covered by a Protected Designation of Origin and other, less stringent designations of geographical origin for traditional specialties. There are two famous types of prosciutto crudo exported abroad: prosciutto di Parma, from Parma, and prosciutto San Daniele, from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. The other protected designations for prosciutto are:
Prosciutto di Modena, Italy
Prosciutto di Veneto Berico-Euganeo, Italy
Prosciutto di Carpegna, near Montefeltro, Italy
Prosciutto di Norcia, Italy
Prosciutto Toscano, Italy
Karst/Kras Prosciutto (Kraški pršut), Slovenia