The Different Types of Italian Ham and How to Use Them

Italy is renowned for its delicious cured hams, known as “prosciutto” in Italian. Here are some common types of Italian ham:

1. Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciutto di Parma is one of the most famous and widely recognized Italian hams. It is produced in the Parma region of Italy and is made from the hind legs of specially bred pigs. The meat is salted and cured for a minimum of 12 months, resulting in a delicate and sweet flavor with a buttery texture.

2. Prosciutto di San Daniele

Prosciutto di San Daniele is another highly esteemed Italian ham that originates from the town of San Daniele in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is made from the hind legs of carefully selected pigs and undergoes a curing process that lasts at least 13 months. Prosciutto di San Daniele has a delicate, slightly nutty flavor and a tender texture.

3. Prosciutto di Toscano

Prosciutto di Toscano is a Tuscan-style ham produced in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is made from the hind legs of local pigs and undergoes a curing process that lasts around nine months. Prosciutto di Toscano has a slightly sweeter and milder flavor compared to its counterparts from Parma and San Daniele.

4. Prosciutto di Norcia

Prosciutto di Norcia comes from the town of Norcia in the Umbria region of Italy. It is made using traditional methods, with the pork legs being salted and cured in the mountainous area of Norcia. Prosciutto di Norcia has a distinct flavor, thanks to the unique climate and local traditions of the region.

5. Culatello

Culatello is a specialty cured ham that comes from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is made from the choicest part of the pig’s leg known as the “culatello.” The meat is carefully salted, massaged, and aged for an extended period, usually between 12 and 18 months. Culatello is prized for its intense flavor, delicate texture, and distinct aroma.

These are just a few examples of the many delicious Italian hams available. Each type of ham has its own unique characteristics, influenced by factors such as the region of production, the breed of pigs, and the specific curing techniques employed. Italian hams are highly regarded for their exceptional quality and are enjoyed both on their own and as a key ingredient in various culinary preparations.