The production area of the Tuscan Prosciutto PDO covers the whole of the Tuscany region, in which every stage of production must be carried out. The meat is sourced from the Large White, Landrace and Duroc breed. The production guidelines provides that each unit must me round-shaped, forming an arch at the top. The hooves and the rind must be removed and the ham must be covered in black pepper. Each unit must weigh 8-9kg, and the colour of the flesh must be bright red, with little intramuscular fat. The subcutaneous fat must be pure white, with light streaks of pink. The aroma is intense, due to the use of herbs and the traditional processing and preserving methods.
The production of the Tuscan Prosciutto
160-180kg is the weight required for the pig to be considered eligible to become prosciutto. No animal younger than 9 months enters an abattoir. The legs are chosen amongst the largest and are first shaped and trimmed, then dried and salted, with the addition of pepper and aromatic herbs, such as pepper, laurel, rosemary, juniper and garlic. Salting must occur within 120 hours from the slaughtering. After a few days, they are washed and seasoned with a mixture of salt, pepper, flour, lard and natural aromas. The prosciutto is then ready to be cured in well ventilated rooms at a temperature that ranges from 12 to 25°C, where it hangs for 10 to 14 months. The prosciutto legs compliant with the guidelines are branded the Prosciutto Toscano DOP mark.
The Tuscan Prosciutto PDO Consortium
The Tuscan Prosciutto PDO Consortium was formed in 1990 to protect and popularise the Tuscan prosciutto throughout the country. Upon funding the consortium, the producers subscribed a chart containing the guidelines and mandatory regulations for traceability.