Internationally-acclaimed, San Daniele ham – which is a PDO product (Protected Denomination of Origin) – stands out from other Italian ham for its unique processing, which doesn’t involve removing the trotter.

As for the origin of the raw material (the legs), it’s essential they only come from pigs bred in one of the 11 northern and central regions of Italy (Friuli Venezia GiuliaVenetoLombardyPiedmont, Emilia RomagnaTuscany, Lazio, the Abruzzi, the MarchesUmbria and Molise).
The leg is pulled at the joint to give the ham its classical straight, guitar-shaped appearance and then is placed in salt for 1 day for each kg. After this period, it is brushed off and placed in a press for 1 week so that all the serum comes out and it takes on its typical flattened shape.

In the second processing phase, the ham is salted and massaged with a mixture of mild pepper, and then is hung to dry for a few months. Then it is washed and covered – where there is no rind – with a lard mixture (a substance made with pork fat, rice flour, salt and, depending on the recipe, pepper and herbs) to prevent the surface from drying out too much, which would lead to the gradual dehydration of all the meat.

Once it has taken on its final appearance, the ham is brought into the ageing rooms, where it stays for 15-18 months to reach an optimal level of maturation. Ageing is the dehydration process, that is the removal of moisture and water from the meat, which suitably salted, allows it to be preserved.