Parma Ham is one of the most famous Italian foods, known across the world for its quality, even in Australia. But not many perhaps know how to recognise the genuine article, and not the many cheap imitations that are exposed each year. Here we will reveal how to recognise the real Parma Ham, and where you can try its inimitable and prized taste.
Parma Ham: the genuine taste of authenticity
Let’s start with the externals: Parma Ham has a slightly leaning shape and weighes between 8 and 10 kg. You should be able to read the logos and the DOP mark as well, particularly the double-crown symbol of the Ham Consortium, which is burnt into the skin of the ham after 12 months of maturation. Therefore the biggest difficulty is to recognise the product after it has been already cut: make sure that the marks we mention are always present on the product itself or the packaging.
Under the crown should be a symbol and a number, which confirm that the producers are part of the Parma Ham Consortium: on the thigh of the ham, there is also a small metal seal that confirms the month and year when maturation started. Another aspect to consider regards the dates that you can read on the Ham, which help with the traceability of the product: finally, do not forget to read the list of ingredients carefully. The genuine Parma Ham does not contain preservatives, and is only made of pig meat and marine salt.
As regards the taste, Parma Ham can never be too lean: as the experts tel us, the thigh needs to have a good layer of fat, and above all a certain number of internal veins, which help give the meat its distinctive flavour. Finally, the ham is soft and smooth.
Parma Ham: where to taste it
All the restaurants and trattoria in Parma offer excellent meat boards of Parma Ham, but you can also taste it in specific locations like the Ham Bar, near the EuroTorri Commercial Centre, and that has enjoyed great success since it opened. It is a small but carm and pleasant venue that offers excellent quality DOP Parma Ham, culatello and other regional cold cuts, to eat as they are or in sandwiches. The venue also serves Lambrusco wine for a genuinely perfect quick snack. The products can also be purchased, above all the bottles and the hams, so that you can recreate the experience in your camper or at home. What could be better than travelling and then taking home the excellence of the places you visited?
Cover photo: PH Food Museum