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What is Prosciutto?

Albertina Roca
  |   August 2, 2016   |  

Made in Italy since the ancient Roman times, prosciutto is an Italian delicacy made from a pig’s hind leg meat (bacon and pancetta, on the other hand, come from the belly). ‘Prosciutto cotto’ refers to cooked ham, whereas ‘Prosciutto crudo’ is raw and cured. In the USA, we tend to associate the term ‘prosciutto’ with the cured “crudo” variety. You can purchase it in pre-sliced wafer-thin pieces, or as a whole leg to use as a centerpiece to a lavish family meal.

Practically every region in Italy has its own version of prosciutto, each slightly different to the next, and the most prestigious varieties tend to come from northern and central Italy. The taste and texture of each prosciutto depends largely on the breed of pig, its diet, altitude, processing techniques, and other factors.

How is Prosciutto Made?

When it comes to making prosciutto crudo, the leg is usually cleaned and salted before being left in a cool place for several weeks or months. During this time, the salt adds flavor but also acts as a preservative, removing moisture from the meat and preventing harmful bacteria from surviving. Later, the salt is largely removed from the meat, which is then dried for up to 18 months. This entire curing process can sometimes take 2 whole years.

How to Eat Prosciutto

Like most hams, prosciutto can be enjoyed by itself but is usually eaten as an accompaniment, topping or wrapping for other foods. Italians will often wrap it around a chunk of cheese, or skewer it alongside olives and fresh fruit. It also tastes great on pizza or in salads and sandwiches. There’s really no end to the amount of ways you can enjoy prosciutto!

Types of Prosciutto


Prosciutto di Parma

The most famous and celebrated prosciutto is Prosciutto di Parma, so revered it has its own Designation of Origin protected by European Law. Beloved for its exquisite sweet-and-salty flavor, Prosciutto Di Parma is salted and dried for at least 18 months, and must be made in the hills around Parma using only Duroc, Large White or Landrace breeds of pig. In spite of its highly selective and closely monitored production methods, Prosciutto Di Parma can vary widely in flavor, sometimes adding nutty or buttery overtones to the usual sweet-salty combo.

Prosciutto di San Danielle

Prosciutto di San Danielle is made around the village of San Danielle Del Friuli. It is darker in color and sweeter in taste than Di Parma, making it better suited to cheeses and breads than to larger savory dishes.

Speck Alto Adige PGI

Produced in northern Italy’s South Tyrol region, Speck is often crafted according to the adage: “A little salt, a little smoke, and a lot of fresh air.” Made from firm pork thighs, it often includes seasonings like pepper and rosemary. Locals in Tyrol often eat it in small cuts alongside sausages, pickles and local cheeses, not to mention bread and wine.

Prosciutto di Modena

The province of Modena is famous for its balsamic vinegar, but it also produces a time-honored prosciutto with bright meat. Less salty and more aromatic than Prosciutto di Parma, it is best enjoyed with fruits such as melon or fig.

Prosciutto Toscano

Cured in Tuscan spices like pepper, garlic and juniper, as well as in salt, Prosciutto Toscano has an earthy, herbaceous flavor profile. In Tuscany, locals often enjoy it with unsalted bread, and its potent seasonings make it an excellent enhancement for mild-tasting dishes.


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Albertina Roca

Copywriter & Certified Cheese Addict

Meet Albertina, a seasoned food writing wordsmith and marketing creative split between the sizzling vibes of Miami and the charming streets of Buenos Aires. With a solid 20 years in the traditional and digital advertising world for the gourmet food industry, she’s mastered the art of making words as mouthwatering as the dishes they describe. She’s proudly been part of the Gourmet Food Store family (and its brands) since its very beginnings, and what a fun, flavor-packed journey it has been!


Albertina's journey in copywriting is marked by a passion for creativity and a knack for connecting with audiences. Her expertise spans SEO-driven content that boosts visibility, engaging social media strategies that spark conversations, persuasive advertising campaigns that captivate, and heartfelt storytelling that resonates deeply.


With a diverse portfolio spanning numerous articles, blogs, and captivating content pieces, Albertina has left her mark on the industry. From informative guides to persuasive sales copy, her work not only informs but also inspires action.

Education and Background

Her journey began at Rutgers College, where she studied in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Lit. She honed her craft at The Miami Ad School in South Beach, where creativity and copy collided under the South Florida Sun. From the neon streets of South Beach to the tango beats of Buenos Aires, her pen dances with the rhythm of whatever gastronomic tales she gets to write at the time.

Currently savoring life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she’s bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid reader, and cheese addict.

Her writing? Seasoned with creativity, spiced with experience, and garnished with a dash of wit.

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