prosciutto di Parma

/proh-SHYOOT-toh dee PAHR-mah/
[Italian] plural prosciutti di Parma

Parma ham from Emilia-Romagna. A cured, raw ham from pork thigh meat, rubbed with salt and hung to dry in the cool air of the long caves in the vicinity of Parma for 14-16 months.The breezes that blow through the caves or special warehouses are said to come from the sea and the mountains, having a special quality. This produces sweet, satin-textured, tender ham with dark pink flesh marbled with white fat. The best are stamped with a ducal crown to show they meet the approval of the inspectors. These hams have a DOC which requires that they must come from the region of Parma, will be from the meat of pigs born and raised in the region and fed on corn and barley with whey. Some of the exceptional flavour of the ham comes from the whey left over from the process of making Parmesan cheese. They must be 150 kg (340 lbs) in weight when they are slaughtered and be a year old. It is not permitted to use sugar, nitrites, water or additives of any kind at all other than salt in the cure. Parma ham may not be smoked.