Culatello di Zibello DOP is produced in the province of Parma, near the border between Emilia Romagna and Lombardia. Fog is typical feature of these lands along the shores of the Po, Italy's longest river. It engulfs everything and creates a peculiar climate, perfect for the aging of this cold cut.
Pig breeding and processing has been present for a long time in this area, but the first evidence of the production of Culatello is in a document by the municipality of Parma in 1735 (Calmiero della carne porcina salata) in which the price of several cold cuts is listed. Opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, author of Nabucco, among many works, is to be counted among the lovers of Culatello.
Culatello di Zibello DOP is strictly made by hand using the same pigs bred in Emilia Romagna and Lombardia for the production of Prosciutto di Parma. Only a part of the thigh is used. The leftovers make two other cuts: Cappello del Prete and Fiocchetto. Culatello prefers a moist air to age to soften the flesh, opposed to prosciutto, which favors a drier environment.
The scent is intense and very peculiar, flavor is sweet and delicate. It is to be enjoyed raw with bread and a lightly sparkling white wine, or with fresh fruit, such as in the traditional coupling with figs. Cooked, it is a perfect ingredient of pasta dishes or main courses.