Crudo di Cuneo PDO is a salted and cured ham obtained by processing raw pig thighs from the Italian Large White, Italian Landrace and Italian Duroc breeds and their crossbreeds.
The production area of Crudo di Cuneo PDO is within the entire territory of the provinces of Cuneo and Asti and in 54 municipal areas of the Province of Turin, in the Piedmont region. The pigs must be born, reared and slaughtered within the production area.
The fresh pig thighs are obtained from animals fed mainly with raw materials from the same production area as Crudo di Cuneo PDO. Animals are not slaughtered before they are eight months old. The fresh thighs are cut from the half-carcass and, after they have been chilled, are sent to be processed; between 24 and 120 hours after slaughtering. The trotter is removed and the thigh is trimmed and refrigerated at a temperature of 1-3°C. The product is then dry salted for at least 12 days before being left to rest for at least 50 days in suitable rooms that guarantee the appropriate level of drying. After being trimmed to remove any rough edges, the product is left to cure for at least 10 months. During this period, Crudo di Cuneo PDO is greased, which involves the muscular surface being covered with a mix of lard, salt and rice or wheat flour. Greasing may take place either in one stage, between the fifth and seventh month of processing, or in several stages, between the fourth and eighth month. Before being made available for consumption, Crudo di Cuneo PDO is branded on the two larger sides of the thigh.
Appearance and Flavour
Crudo di Cuneo PDO has a round shape, with the haunch but no trotter. After curing, the ham weighs between 8.5 and 12 kg. The lean part of the slice is uniform red in colour, whilst the fat is white. The consistency is soft and compact and it has a sweet and fragrant aroma.
Pig farming and the processing of the meat derived from these animals, has ancient origins in the area which today is indicated as the production area of Crudo di Cuneo PDO. The origins of pig thigh processing in the production area date back to the XVII century, as shown by a document from 1618, where there is reference to the work of Piedmont pork butchers. After the second half of the XIX century, raw ham from the Cuneo valley became increasingly more important, when the new middle class turned the ham and its processing into a true art. In fact, the nobles and clergy, closely linked to tradition, requested personalised recipes from the butchering masters, who were the founders of the first artisan butcheries.
Crudo di Cuneo PDO is best sliced just before eating and should be protected with cling film, as air and light tend to dry its surface causing the loss of some of its organoleptic characteristics. It is a perfect entrée or second course, eaten on its own or together with other local charcuterie products and cheeses. It is delicious served with melon, kiwi and figs, as they bring out its flavour.
The product is marketed as Crudo di Cuneo PDO. It is sold whole, in pieces or slices, unpackaged or vacuum-packed.
Crudo di Cuneo PDO is characterised by an excellent covering of fat and the uniform red colour of the lean part. Crudo di Cuneo PDO is produced in one of the shortest supply chains in Italy. Transporting it can in fact cause bruising and the formation of haematoma or veins, which could compromise the processing requirements of the thigh.