In the 3rd century BC it was said that Hannibal stopped his conquering just north of Parma to eat Prosciutto and bread washing it down with some local wine. Walking through Rome, the ‘Eternal City’, there is a street dedicated to one of the oldest ways of consuming cured meats: in conjunction with bread. The Romans liked ham so much that they even devoted to this cured meat the oldest street where the biggest markets took place. The street, still named after the Latin panisperna (panis = bread, perna = ham) is perhaps one of the most ancient existing witness of prosciutto’s long history in the Italian tradition.
Mortadella has the oldest production code among Italian cured meats. The first documents date back to the fourteenth century and its original name, Bologna, dates back to 1661, when Cardinal Farnese published a notice in the capital of Emilia, which codified the production of this cured meat and anticipated, in some ways, the current production regulations.
The tender, delicate and versatile cured meat, Prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) has relatively recent origins. Born in the early ‘60s, it has known how to win over Italians quickly – especially kids and teenagers, thanks to its taste and versatility. These qualities have made it rapidly one of the most sold and appreciated “salumeria” products in Italy.
Salami is undoubtedly rooted in Italian gastronomic culture, but traces of this meat have been found even in Egyptian civilization: sausages like salami are represented in paintings inside the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses III (1166 BC).
The Salame Cacciatore PDO, (hunter’s salami), was taken by hunters on excursions and hunting trips. This type of small sized salami has a quite short time of maturation and can be safely carried in pockets or small bags. This variety of meat contains high levels of protein which was very useful during intense physical activity.