The production area of Prosciutto di San Daniele surrounds the Municipality of San Daniele del Friuli (about 34 square kilometer), in the heart of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
San Daniele is 252 m asl on a morainic hill, a short distance away from the first slopes of the Prealps, with the river Tagliamento flowing at its feet.
In this site the cold currents of air from the Alps converge with the warm salty breezes of the Adriatic Sea, which is only 35 km away, as the crow flies. Moreover, the orographic features of the area and its morainic origin ensure excellent drainage of humidity, and the ideal microclimate for seasoning meat.
Prosciutto di San Daniele is obtained by seasoning the fresh thighs of Italian pigs, which are only chosen from breeding farms situated in ten regions of central-northern Italy and certified and authorised by the control institute, INEQ (North East Quality Institute). Seasoning is a processing technique that exploits sea salt and ideal environmental conditions in terms of temperature/humidity/ventilation to dry the fresh meat, transform it into ham and allow its perfect conservation using neither preservatives nor additives. Prosciutto di San Daniele can be recognised by the trademark of he Consortium that is impressed on the rind, by the presence of the trotter and by its distinctive ‘guitar’ shape. The freshly cut slice has a pinkish red lean part and pure white fat. The delicate fragrance becomes more persistent as the seasoning process
lengthens. Toasted (bread crust), dry fruit and barley malt notes can be noticed. The delicate, savoury flavour and typical fragrance of seasoned meat merge to produce a delightfully pleasant sensation in the mouth. Chewing experiences a tender slice that dissolves in the mouth.
The thighs that reach the ham factory within 48 hours of slaughter are subjected to a preliminary compliance check. Suitable items are sent in for processing, which includes:
• cooling and trimming;
• salting: the thighs are covered with salt and remain thus for a number of days that is equal to their weight in kg;
• pressing: a typical exclusive phase of Prosciutto San Daniele that allows the salt to penetrate better to improve meat consistency;
• rest: the salted thighs are left to rest in dedicated salt until the fourth month of processing;
• washing and drying;
• sugnatura: the part not covered by the rind is smeared with “sugna”, a paste consisting of a mixture of lard and rice or wheat flour, in order to protect and simultaneously soften that part;
• seasoning: which must be prolonged until completion of the thirteenth month from the start of processing;
• branding: after at least 13 months of seasoning, the INEQ – North East Quality Institute, authorised by the Mipaaf, performs checks to ensure that the hams comply with standards laid down by the code of production.
Only hams that meet all criteria are certified and fire branded with the Consortium’s brand.