Production of PDO Parma Ham
The Ham “with the Ribbon”
Fontana Ham contains all aromas and flavors of the past thanks to a strict observance of ancient recipes. Our product has its origin in an area of lush green hills, which embrace long traditions and the love for the authenticity of past habits. Our product is a combination of Nature and the wise art of a man dedicated since childhood to the pursuit of the best. Parma Ham is an ancient but, at the same time, modern specialty that offers itself to the demanding cuisine of today and tomorrow. It has high nutrient values, it is easy to digest, low in salt, and satisfies the most refined palates as well as those who follow every type of diet. Fontana Ham is, truly, … “with the Ribbon”.
Where do we produce it?
PDO Parma Ham is inextricably tied to its land. The rolling hills around Parma, between the Via Emilia, the Enza river and the Stirone river, have been the cradle of Parma Ham since ancient times. The unique conditions of this territory allow the production of a Ham of the highest quality, result of the combination of tradition and the best technology.
How do we produce it?
The secret of PDO Parma Ham begins with the accurate selection of the best meats, raised following strict policies, exclusively in authorized breeding farms that are located in the Centre and the North of Italy. Salt is also extremely important and a crucial ingredient in the curing process. Salt is carefully dosed by the Salt Master, in order to respect the perfect balance between sweet and salty.
Time and air
We have the patience to wait for the slow curing of our hams in the unique microclimate of the Baganza river valley, located in the protected area of the Regional Park Boschi di Carrega. Here the sea wind gently blows through the Apennines until it reaches our factory, enriching the hams with a harmonious and unique taste.
Ancient habits and tradition, quality and safety
Arrival and selection of raw materials
ONLY SELECTED MEATS
The secret of PDO Parma Ham begins with a careful selection of pigs, born and raised in authorized breeding farms that are located in 10 central and northern Italian regions.
Delivery and Trimming
DELIVERY AND TRIMMING
When pork thighs get delivered to the production plant, they undergo strict controls and a first trimming, in order to give PDO Parma Ham the typical round shape.
Salting is a fundamental part of the curing process: the “Salt Master” adds only the exact amount of salt needed to store the product and start the drying process. Thighs then rest in cold storage for a week.
After one week, thighs are washed and covered with new salt salt. After, they are transferred to a new cold storage, called “second salting”, and stay there for approximately two weeks.
Once the remaining salt is washed away, thighs rest for approximately 120 days in a specific cold storage. In this phase, thighs must breathe, without becoming too damp or dry.
Before entering the drying cells, each ham is washed with warm water and left to dry for a few days. This operation determines the transition from the refrigerated phase to the phase at room temperature.
After they’ve been washed, hams start their long curing. In the initial curing, the product undergoes a gradual and constant drying, waiting for the greasing phase.
The superficial lean meat is spread with “sugna”, a greasing paste prepared with pork fat, rice flour, salt and pepper, which keeps the meat soft. Greasing is the final step before hams are moved to the curing cellars of the factory.
Along the valley of the Baganza river, the Marino wind comes from the sea through the Apennines and is channelled into the cellars of the plant. This sweet breeze is what gives our Ham its unmistakable scent and taste.
By law, PDO Parma Ham must be cured for at least 12 months, before being fire-branded with the Ducal Crown under the control of the Istituto Parma Qualità (Parma quality institute) inspectors.
A special horse-bone needle is used by qualified personnel to control hams’ quality. The horse-bone needle is very porous and allows to immediately absorb and detain the aroma.
The Fontana family decided to keep every product and every production phase within the same production plant, in order for the Management team to directly control everything.
The deboning department and the 4 clean rooms, which constitute a total of 9 slicing lines, are equipped with the most advanced technologies to provide maximum hygiene, safety and the best presentation of the products.