Italians have traditionally been large consumers of ham, especially raw ham, prosciutto crudo, even more so than the cooked ham, the prosciutto cotto, which is also often of excellent quality. Within the category of raw ham, the Parma ham, the prosciutto di Parma, has gained a great reputation worldwide. In addition, there is the San Daniele which is produced in the area of Udine, the famous Carso behind Trieste. The unique system of Italian quality products guarantees that every certified product is actually made according to DOP and other guidelines. And these are very strict, also in a European context, partly because Italians care a lot about the quality of their food and are willing, sometimes deeply, to pay for it.
Although Parma and San Daniele have the name, in our opinion the real raw ham ‘top’ comes from Sicilia. In the National Park of the Nebrodi Mountains, part of the province of Enna and Messina, the Suino Nero breed of pig, small and black pigs, lives in the semi-wild. The history of this breed goes back at least 1000 years because we already find references in the second century BC. Through the Middle Ages and Arab rule, with its religious restrictions on pork consumption, the breed has been maintained but has become increasingly rare. Even now, production and consumption is mainly local. The salvation has actually been the commercialization of the meat products!
The exceptional climate of the Nebrodi Mountains also provides a unique European flora and fauna that makes up the menu of the pigs, with mainly acorns and berries and limited supplementary feeding in the mild Sicilian winters and sometimes very hot summers. This produces meat with a great marbling of fat with a lot of flavor; both the fresh meat and the meat products that taste even more intense. Very tasty, silky smooth, buttery butter, sweet and intense. Can only be compared with the Patta Negra from Andalucia. Of course also one of the 144 Slow Food Presidium products that is difficult to obtain, but which Casalinga has managed to get hold of via the ‘Macelleria La Paisanella di Agostino and van Raalten Import’. The contradiction is that you can save these pigs permanently by eating them at Casalinga.