Raw ham with a sweet and refined flavor, it is a low-calorie dish, but with an intense taste. The only preservative allowed by the specification, among other things in a smaller quantity than other types of raw ham, is salt. Beyond the salt and lard there are no other additives (nitrates, nitrites or other). Biomolecular studies have shown that the ham maintains its natural red color thanks to the zinc naturally present in the muscle and the added salt.
Parma Ham has about 200 producers concentrated in the eastern part of the province of Parma, in particular in the Langhirano area. The breeding and fattening phases of the animals as well as the subsequent treatment and maturing are regulated and guaranteed by the consortium. Only heavy thighs are used (fresh they weigh between 12 and 13 kg). It is also called sweet ham as a low amount of salt is added during processing. The salting is accompanied by a short period of rest in cold rooms and followed by the sprinkling of a precious adrenal fat, lard, obtained from pork. This guarantees a slow drying, so that the producer can season the thigh for a long time (at least 12 months), adding a little salt. Once matured, the boned product should be released on the market with a weight between 7 kg and 8 kg, while the bone-in product should weigh between 9.5 kg and 10.5 kg. Parma hams with a weight that differs greatly from those just mentioned, have a lower commercial value.