The ancient recipe of the Culatello di Zibello has been handed down for generations and is perfectly identified with the traditions, history and the climatic environment of the province of Parma, its homeland. The production of this salami begins in the cellars of the lower Parma area, flanked by the Po, and then over the centuries to be appreciated nationally and internationally.
With the EC regulation n. 1263/96 has also arrived the PDO – Protected Designation of Origin that regulates the production of culatello and protects the consumer, preserving the salami from alterations and imitations. The controls exercised are very strict to the point that, every year, only a little more than 60,000 Culatelli di Zibello manage to obtain the frieze of the PDO. For the protection and promotion of the product, the Consortium for the protection of the Culatello di Zibello was also established.
The taste is sweet and delicate with an intense and characteristic aroma. The external shape is “pear” and, in its convex part, is surrounded by a light layer of fat. The harness, made with twine around the cured meat, forms a sort of wide-meshed net. When cut, the culatello is red with white streaks, which make up the fat of the different muscle bundles used for its production.
The territory of production of the Culatello di Zibello Dop corresponds to the areas around the bank of the Po, bordered by the municipalities of Busseto, Polesine Parmense, Zibello, Soragna, Roccabianca, San Secondo, Sissa and Colorno.
Here the winters are harsh and foggy and the summers are sunny and hot and it is this climate, made of alternation between dry and humid periods, which favors the perfect maturation of Culatello. The geographical position and the meteorological characteristics, have made it one of the most famous cured meats in the world, endowed with that scent and that characteristic taste of the place of origin.
To make the Culatello di Zibello, the leg of the boneless pork is used, from which the less valuable meat is removed, which will serve to obtain another type of ham called “Fiocchetto”. The remaining meat corresponds to the bundle of the back muscles, more tender and valuable, which is trimmed with care and formed.
The following is followed by salting with a mixture of salt, whole and / or chopped pepper and garlic; furthermore, dry white wine, sodium and / or potassium nitrate can be used, strictly adhering to the specification. The leg is so sprinkled with salt, massaged and put to rest. Subsequently it is stuffed into a natural casing, which is usually the bladder of the pig, and tied in such a way as to obtain the characteristic pear shape.
The maturing process is followed, for a period of no less than ten months starting from salting, which must take place in rooms with sufficient air exchange at a temperature between 13 ° and 17 ° C. In this period ventilation, exposure to light and natural moisture is allowed, also taking into account the climatic factors present in the typical area of production.