Tuscan ham on the buffet table at Villa le Barone

November 28, 2014  |  Food & Wine

Tuscan ham as an appetizer at Villa le Barone, Panzano in Chianti

Every evening, you will find a wonderful plate of Tuscan ham (” Prosciutto Toscano”) on Villa le Barone’s buffet table of appetizers (antipasti)… You will also be able to enjoy this unique ham with melon or figs for snacks on the terrace or nearby the pool: fantastic!

or many, the Italian word “prosciutto” (ham) is synonymous of dry-cured hams from Parma or from the Friuli areas, in particular the San Daniele. However, Italy has at least seven varieties of ham protected by a “Denomination of Protected Origin” (D.O.P), produced on different territories with diverse  production methods.
The Tuscan ham has a notorious intense flavor, stronger than the hams in Emilia, Veneto and Friuli. The Consorzio Prosciutto Toscano (the Tuscan Ham Consortium) was established in 1990 and obtained the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (D.O.P) in 1996 to protect the unique identity and characteristics of Tuscan pig breeding and Tuscan ham’s production techniques, (Denomination of Protected Origin).

Table of appetizers (antipasti) with Tuscan ham at Villa le Barone , Panzano in Chianti

It takes from 9 months to two years to prepare a Tuscan ham, following a process known for centuries, but now well codified. Of course the pork hams have to be chosen very carefully, using specific criteria such as color, softness of the muscular fascias, texture of the fat.   Then, the first phase of preparation takes place: dry salting with rock salt and a mixture of typical natural Tuscan aromas, herbs, aromatics and berries, such as garlic, rosemary and juniper myrtle. This is a 3 to 4 weeks process. Follows a resting phase in the cold room for about 90 days, after which any residual salt is washed off the prosciuttos. The “prosciuttos” are then placed in a special “ripening” room with controlled temperatures where they remain for approximately 3 months in order to ensure the ideal conditions for a gradual and constant drying process after which the ham is ready for commercialization.

You will love the DOP Tuscan ham on the antipasti table at boutique Hotel Villa le Barone, served with figs from our garden in season, or with melon for snacks nearby the pool or on the terrace!


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