The king of cured meats: culatello di Zibello DOP.
We must choose a leg to which the production of other cured meats – prosciutto crudo just to name one – will be precluded, just to bring a slice to your table. And between two culatelli, obtained from the same animal, only one will represent excellence; in fact, the pig tends to fall asleep always on the same side, thus enhancing the tenderness of just one of the two thighs.
The heart of the thigh, the noblest and finest part, boned and trimmed as only great pork butchers do, can go into production: dry salting followed by an intense but gentle massage and by a proper resting period inside the pig’s bladder, the drying phase, tied in the typical pear shape and the following seasoning where the culatello rests in naturally temperate environments for 16 to 18 months. When culatello wakes up, it is washed and brushed under running water and then wrapped in a cloth soaked in non-aromatic dry wine, before being tasted.
And after this king-worthy ritual, culatello finally gets on your tables, after a journey that began in a handful of villages surrounded by fog and unpleasant weather. But our king appreciates that climate very much.