The Consortium of San Daniele ham dates back to 1961 when a group of citizens that included some ham producers and also some factory owners belonging to other industrial fields decided to gather in order to protect the name and the brand of San Daniele ham by setting some precise working regulations. Nowadays the Consortium gathers 3 producers of the precious ham from Friuli whose quality has been aknowledged by the Italian government since 1970 by setting a specific set of rules that enabled the legal implementation of the traditional production. The ham has been entered among the Denomination of Protected Origin products by the European Union in 1996. The ethical code of the Consortium is based on the principles of accuracy, fairness, integrity, loyalty, cooperation and precision and it includes the values that are shared by the members of the Consortium. This Protected Denomination of Origin product is checked by a third authority and it’s also monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture that checks the correct application of the Production Disciplines through all the steps of the whole production chain that is made of farmers, batchers, ham factories and slicing labs. If you want to learn more about the Consortium of San Daniele Ham you can visit the website www.prosciuttosandaniele.it.
The production of the excellence
The first step of the production is the selection of meat; the swine are born, bred and butchered in 10 regions in the North and in the Centre of Italy, they are fed with whey and noble cereals according to a particular diet that is set by the above-mentioned regulations. The thighs that pass the first conformity check can be used to start the working process. The chosen meat is kept for 24 hours between 1 and 3 degrees of temperature then it’s trimmed to remove the humidity. After more than 24 hours the salting phase is started by using the Italian sea salt then the thigh is set aside for a number of days that correspond to the weight of the thigh. The pressing and the resting are carried out in big rooms with a humidity between 70 and 80% and a temperature between 4 and 6 degrees, this is a phase that lasts until the fourth month from the starting of the working. Then there’s the washing phase, it’s an invigorating process that leads to the maturing phase together with the changing of the temperature. The maturing as well as all the production steps must be carried out in the area of San Daniele of Friuli under the perfect conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation. The coating with fat is one of the last production steps, it’s carried out by using the swain fat and the rice flour that are put on the uncovered side of the rind in order to soften it by removing the most of humidity inside the thigh and prevent the meat to become dry. After the quality checks, the schucking and the pointing by using the horse bone enable to check the maturation and the smell enables to check if the product is good. After all these requirements have been met the product is ready to be fire branded in order to state its guarantee and its quality after thirteen months.
The land of ham
San Daniele del Friuli is famous all over the world for the production of ham but it is also a place rich of art and traditions. The historical centre is elegant and well-kept, if you stroll around its narrow streets and its squares you’ll go back in time. The main landmarks that deserve to be seen are the church of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of butchers, it is also called “the Sistine Chapel of Friuli” since it keeps an amazing cycle of paintings dating back to the Renaissance by Pellegrino from San Daniele between 1497 and 1522, the Portonat, once called Porta Gemona, designed by Palladio in 1579, the cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo, the Monte di Pietà Palace by the Venetian Matteo Lucchesi, the tower bell dating back to the 16th century, Villa Masetti de Concina, the church of Santa Maria della Fratta, the Belvedere and its panoramic staircase and the Sanctuary of Madonna di Strada. Among the treasures of the local culture there are the Museum of the Territory, the Exhibition Hall of the Military and Historical Relics which is housed by the so-called House of the 300s (Casa del Trecento) and the unmissable Guarneriana library which is based in the palace of Magnifica Comunità dating back to the 15th century, it’s the oldest public library in Friuli and it’s one of the oldest ones in Italy.
The Party Air
The Consortium of San Daniele Ham’s mission is to safeguard an excellent product that is appreciated at an International level whose handcraft, uniqueness and history are matched to the high quality, the promotion and the knowledge. The itinerant festival “Aria di San Daniele” enables the Consortium to promote the product all over Italy each year since many special events and evenings are held in the locals of the metropolitan areas of the main Italian cities. You can taste the ham and listen to the stories that are told by an expert innkeeper, you can discover the secret of the ham’s production while you are sipping a drink or tasting a special menu. In Milan, at Lake Garda, in Turin, in Florence, in Verona, Pescara and Rome, “Aria di San Daniele” has been the protagonists for many months and it’s going to be there again on the last months of the year: in October the event is going to be organized in Bari and Matera, in November in Naples and Catania and in December by the Dolomites of Belluno. The calendar with all the events is available on the website https://www.ariadisandaniele.it/
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