Culatello di Zibello the superb
Parma cured ham
The production of this King of cured meats is limited to just
9 areas within the province of Parma, and is tightly controlled
to make sure traditional methods are used and high standards
maintained, by a body called a Consorzio.
The meat has to come from traditionally reared adult pigs,
butchered by experts in the months between November and February.
It is then very lightly salted, tightly bound in string and
hung up to cure for at least a year.
Before being bound in string, Culatello has to be wrapped
in a protective natural coating, as it is made from the "cheek"
of the rump, the meatiest part, not from all of it as is usual
They say the secret of the Culatello from Zibello is in the
air, the air of the pains along this particular stretch
of the Po river, with its winter fogs and its suffocating
humid summer heat, which flavour the Culatello in a way no
other region can.
Enormous care goes into the selection of the right cellar
to age it in, for this too is a crucial element in conveying
"grace, fragrance and nobility", as one prosciutto producer
put it, to this King of cured meats.
with other cured meats, when the string is loose and the meat
has shrunk, it is ready for consumption.
The custom with Culatello is to remove the string and then
bathe the whole Culatello in red wine for 2 to 3 days.
After this it is very thinly sliced, and served with curls
of pale unsweetened butter - outstanding!