The Secrets of Tuscan Raw Ham
How to recognize PDO Tuscan Ham and where to buy it?
Many will agree that the king of Tuscan charcuterie cannot be other than Prosciutto Toscano DOP.
But what are the qualities and characteristics that make it the guardian par excellence of the Tuscan norcina tradition? In this article we will reveal the secrets of the unmistakable flavor of Tuscan ham, its origins, and the requirements of the DOP mark.
Like all Italian specialties, raw ham also has different flavors, thanks to biodiversity and regional culinary customs. The fresh air of the hills and that of the Tyrrhenian Sea blend in a microclimate that makes Tuscany the perfect place for seasoning cold cuts.
Recognizable by the delicate flavor, the crimson red of the dry and lean slices, and the intense taste enhanced by a typical flavor, the Tuscan raw ham is traditionally seasoned not only with salt but with local spices, including juniper, rosemary and black pepper. It stands out for its typical arch shape, for the intense red meat with white streaks and, of course, for the consortium brand.
We of theTuscan delicatessen we are keen to safeguard the Tuscan pork-butchery tradition and that is why we are committed to offering the best artisan cured meats, including Prosciutto Toscano DOP.
PDO Tuscan Ham - a product of excellence with roots
The Tuscan pig breeding has ancient and rural origins from small farms. The resulting product has maintained all those characteristics of genuineness, taste and flavor that enhance its excellence to this day.
For centuries, Prosciutto Toscano PDO has been made following very specific procedures, which are handed down from generation to generation.
In 1990 a group of Tuscan producers, aware of the need to protect Tuscan ham from the uncontrolled proliferation of other hams that had little in common with the Tuscan tradition, joined together to create the Tuscan Prosciutto Consortium.
The goal was, and still is today, to promote, enhance and protect its product both on the domestic and foreign markets, while maintaining a close link with the territory it belongs to: Tuscany.
What does the PDO mark entail?
In 1996, Prosciutto Toscano obtained the coveted Community recognition of PDO - "Protected Designation of Origin" - thanks to the commitment and respect for the Tuscan food tradition by all its members, who have decided to join with pride to the precise rules established by the Production Regulations.
To be considered Prosciutto Toscano PDO, every stage of production is regulated. From the breeding of Tuscan pigs to the hand-made cutting up to the seasoning in special rooms with controlled temperature and humidity for at least 12 months, the process is deeply rooted in the traditions that can be traced back to the Medici house.
All animals must be at least 9 months of age and a live weight between 144 and 176 kilos. The processing takes place exclusively in hams production plants located in Tuscany and using only fresh rear legs (frozen legs or those subjected to other preservation processes are not allowed).
The production control of Prosciutto Toscano PDO is carried out by a certification body authorized by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. After a long period of curing, the hams are branded with the Consortium brand in the shape of the Tuscany region, which labels the “Prosciutto Toscano DOP” and guarantees its quality.
Where to taste and buy Prosciutto Toscano DOP?
At the Salumeria Toscana you can find all the best products of the Tuscan norcina tradition, which can be purchased both through our online site and at our store, in Montaione, where you can taste all the specialties, including the Tuscan Ham Dop.