The custom of salting and drying of the ham
Salting and dry-curing of the fresh ham-prosciutto is typical for the countries of the Mediterranean, especially for the countries like Italy and Spain. However, German Schwarzwald and Westphalian ham, French jambon de Bayonne, Finnish Steam-Bath prosciutto are also well-known,and Country-style prosciutto-ham has been produced in the States.
As for the Republic of Croatia, the Istrian peninsula with microclimate conditions and culturological surroundings represents an area where a unique prosciutto brand has been produced for centuries. From the old times to this day, the autochtonous prosciutto has been number one quality product in the Istrian gastronomic offer and a true pride of every Istrian. The distinctions of the Istrian prosciutto-ham have made it different from many other types of prosciutto-hams produced all over the world. The treatment of the fresh ham-prosciutto dates back to the period when local homesteads needed to produce larger quantities of fatty tissue which was rendered into lard and kept for future use.
The treated fresh ham-prosciuttos must be dry-salted with sea salt and seasoned with natural spices, such as pepper, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic. The drying and ripening of the prosciutto-ham under the Istrian climate conditions lasts for 12 - 18 months. The product is distinguished by its specific aroma and smell, as well as by its moderately salty taste, uniform red color and desirable consistency. Istrian prosciutto-ham doesn't contain dangerous additives, as no nitrates or other unhealthy additives are used during salting. Smoke-drying is not applied in the production process of the prosciutto-ham and thus, the final product doesn't contain dangerous carcinogens found in smoke ( polycyclic aromatic compounds, tar, formaldehyde, cresoles, ketons, carbon monoxyde, piridyne, etc.).
With reference to the above mentioned, Istrian prosciutto-ham is an autochtonous, top quality product and the most outstanding representative of culinary art and tourist trade in Istria. Its authenticity has been protected by the authentic distinctive mark with the National Intellectual Heritage under No. G20020002A, published in the Croatian Intellectual Heritage Herald No. 2/2002.