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The story of how Prosciutto di San Daniele is born | Production 1/5

As in the best stories, Prosciutto di San Daniele has a story that comes from very far away. Patience, loving care, accuracy and precision are the essential fellow travelers in the journey a pork thigh takes as it turns into a wonderful San Daniele DOP.

Not unlike a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly, during the processing stage, prosciutto undergoes a series of changes that turn it into the jewel it is. We have therefore decided to dedicate some articles of our Magazine to explain in detail the production process. We have already dedicated an episode to how Prosciutto di San Daniele is produced only in the municipality of  San Daniele, today we are going to explain what happens when a pork thigh arrives in our town.

What happens when a pork thigh arrives in San Daniele?

A thigh arrives chilled in the prosciutto factories and never beyond 120 hours after butchering.

At this moment the first selection step  takes place. All the thighs that do not comply with the mandatory characteristics that a Prosciutto di San Daniele Dop must have are set aside. Better said, if the weight of the thigh doesn’t comply with our standards, the manufacturing process ends here.

For the thighs which meet our reference values a journey that will turn them into delicious prosciutto starts. After the initial check at the moment of arrival in the prosciutto factory, a brand is applied to certify the starting date of the process. This adds up to the brands already on the rind. Namely: the acronym of the province and the identification code of the farm, the pig’s month of birth as well as a brand carrying the identification code of the slaughterhouse.

After this inital check, the thighs are taken into a cold room to allow all of them to reach the same temperature – between 0° and + 3°.

The salting

The first salting takes place at this stage, following a rule that is customary and also essential: the thigh will have to rest under the salt for a number of days equal to its weight.

When one speaks of how tasty Prosciutto di San Daniele Dop is, well, this is where it starts to bloom in all its scent.

The love and the craftmanship behind the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele can be seen when  the thigh, once cleaned from the salt, is gently massaged and placed in frames contained in other cold rooms.

In this new environment, with a temperature between + 4° and +6°, the fluid drainage reaches its highest peak, thanks to a humidity between 70 and 80%. This is the stage at which we take further care of our thighs, refining them even more by removing the excess meat parts.

In short, the story is just beginning, but the happy ending has already been written.

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