The tradition of producing ham in Tuscany has its roots in the custom of farmers who, in winter, slaughtered pigs that had been fattened with passion in the previous months. For centuries, the Prosciutto Toscano DOP has been made following precise procedures that have been handed down from generation to generation.
The raw material used for the production of Prosciutto Toscano DOP is pigs born, raised, fattened and slaughtered in the territory of six regions in central and northern Italy. The production comprises the entire territory of the Tuscany Region, where the slicing and packaging of the product must also be carried out.
Tuscan Ham is derived from the fresh thighs of pigs. These are trimmed with the typical V-cut to remove the rind and reveal more of the lean part of the thigh.
Processing of the thighs begins with salting, which must take place within 120 hours of slaughter. Salt, pepper and natural flavorings of vegetable origin are used for this process (no additives or preservatives are allowed). After about 3 to 4 weeks of resting at low temperature, they are coated with lard: a mixture of ground pork fat to which rice flour, salt and pepper are added.
At this point they are ready for aging, which takes place in special rooms with optimal temperature and humidity conditions. After the necessary checks, each ham is branded and ready to be covered with black pepper, a distinctive element of this cold cut.
Ham is very popular as an appetizer, but not only that: it pairs well with sweet fruit such as melon. Such a strong flavor of the Tuscan Ham PDO pairs well with "sciocco" Tuscan bread, that is, bland, without salt. This is because, in the past, due to a tax on salt, this ingredient had become expensive and rare. Therefore, it was preferred to "save" it and use it for long-term preservation.
For information: prosciuttotoscano.com