Prosciutto di Norcia
There are two varieties of Norcia prosciutto. The first, "typical" variety is seasoned for up to a year, while the "ancient" variety is seasoned for up to two years. The typical variety is famous for having introduced the general public to salted "mountain" prosciutto, now widely available in supermarkets and known for its intense flavour. The thin slices are rigorously cut by hand. The second represents the very best of Norcia tradition, and is intended for the connoisseur, because of its strict artisanal production methods and the slow seasoning in the dry mountain air. It is made according to stringent rules: the pork loin is trimmed into a teardrop shape, dry-salted with large-grain salt, and crushed pepper and garlic is then added. After a salting period of 30-40 days, the prosciutto is then washed in warm water and left to dry, before being matured for seven to eight months. At the end of this period it will have a firm consistency with a low fat content and mild garlic flavour. The quality of this ham depends not only on the seasoning process but also on the size of the animal at slaughter, and its diet during the fattening phase: these factors influence the texture of the meat, its flavour, and the number of fatty streaks in the lean meat. The undisputed king of Norcia's gastronomic tradition, in 1997 Prosciutto di Norcia was granted Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Union.