Meat and pork butchery products

Guanciale or barbozzo (pig’s cheek o chin)
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Capocollo and lombetto
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Coglioni di Mulo (Mule’s Balls)
The name of this sausage product says a lot about its shape, which clearly...
Coppa is a typical product linked to rural tradition and made using the head,...
Corallina di Norcia is one of the best-known cured meats from Norcia. It is...
The chianina
The Chianina is perhaps the most noble and renowned of the various breeds of...
Morsels of Venison
Morsels of venison are made from lean deer meat, after the fatty parts and...
Porchetta is one of the traditional ways of preparing pork and can be...
Sausages and liver sausages
The processing of pork in Umbria is dominated by sausages, which are prepared...
Sanguinaccio (Black pudding)
Black pudding is an ancient and tasty speciality. It is made from pig’s...
In Umbrian dialect, ventresca is a type of rolled up bacon, obtained from the...
Umbrian cuisine is rich in recipes for game, like deer (stewed or minced for...
Barnyard animals
Chicken, rabbit stew and roast goose were all dishes that were eaten in certain...
Beef is one of the best products coming from the Umbrian countryside or, more...
Until the beginning of the 20th century, Umbria was characterized by a certain...
The origins of the pig may be lost in the mists of time. In Etruscan times, the...
Ham PDF Print E-mail

A matured leg of pork is typically pear-shaped anddcovered with pepper in areas where it is not protected by the rind. Homebred ham is different from the other types, because of the special characteristics of the maturing process. The ham is matured in natural surroundings, which are dry and well ventilated, thanks to the Tramontana north wind, typical of our region. The best way to eat it is by placing it in a ham rack and slicing it with a sharp, long-bladed knife. By doing this, the slices are very thin and there is no loss of freshness or taste.

Description of methods of processing, preservation and aging:

1.  Cutting: the portion of the pig in question is the leg. It is longer than that of Parma ham because the cut reaches the sixth rib;

2.  Shaping: elimination of the rind on the inside of the leg;

3.  Salting: the meat is covered by a mixture of salt, pepper and garlic and it is left to rest for 25 days;

4.  Washing: this is done with hot water and wine;

5.  Drying: the ham is flavoured with pepper and garlic and left to dry for 30-35 days;

6.  Filling: done using a mixture of pork fat (lard), garlic, pepper, salt and flour;

7.  Aging: this is achieved in a natural environment for about two years.

Description of rooms for processing, preserving and aging:

1.  A cutting room: this is where the pig is cut into various parts and prepared for use;

2.  A processing room: this is where shaping, salting and washing is performed;

3.  A drying and/or aging room: the first is at a controlled temperature, the second at a temperature.


The history of ham has its roots in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, which produced this precious cured meat and also made a distinction between ham made from the leg and that made from the shoulder. From the fourteenth century, agricultural writers described the techniques used to produce ham, but it was not until the Renaissance that ham was at its most popular, becoming the most important dish at celebrations and banquets. In our territory, Norcia and the entire Valnerina area in general, are the most famous areas for the production of ham.

The typical ham of Norcia boasts recognition as a PGI product (Protected Geographical Indication) and is characterized by its full, savoury flavour and slightly spicy fragrance. It owes its uniqueness to the skills of the local artisans and their patient work in the preparation and aging of the ham. The prime characteristic of this cured, raw ham is undoubtedly the unmistakeable pear-shaped form in which it is carved. Another feature is the way in which it is processed: the heavy adult leg shank is first trimmed and then salted with dry table salt and left to rest for about 20 days. Following this period, it is washed and placed into hot water, seasoned with pepper and garlic and hung to dry. After about 8 months, the process of curing the ham is started and, before leaving it in a  cool, moist place, it is treated with a mixture of flour and lard.

This process is carried out in the traditional area of production, which includes the territories of the municipalities of the Valnerina area, provided that they are located more than 500 metres above sea level.

The whole hams are then rubbed with a little oil on the cutting surface, wrapped in aluminium foil or cling film and kept in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.


These products are similar to those reviewed in the previous pages and may also be made from the meats of other animals, such as wild boar and deer. For example, wild boar ham is smaller in size than ham from a normal pig and has a curing time of not more than 16 months. The meat is dark red, its fragrance tends to be gamy and it has  aparticularly strong taste, due to dry curing with garlic, spices and salt.Tasty sausages are also made from the best wild boar meats. The meat mixture is flavoured with garlic, salt and a good amount of black pepper, after which it is made into sausages. The sausages may be eaten either fresh or dried.


Deer ham is made from a leg of deer, after the bones and fat have been removed and it has been preserved with salt, pepper and juniper for about two weeks. The pre-curing process is performed in ventilated rooms with the presence of smoke, while the curing itself requires rooms with controlled temperature and moisture levels.

Venison fillet, on the other hand, is prepared with deer loin, after the bones and fat have been removed, and is seasoned with salt, pepper and juniper berries for 8-9 days. The salt is removed and the fillet is pre-cured in warm, ventilated rooms, while curing is carried out in cool areas with controlled moisture levels, for about 60 days.

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