Prosciutto di Norcia can be made is two ways: the ancient or modern method. The ancient method was codified at the end of the Roman period. In his book De Agri Cultura, Cato described the process of salting and aging prosciutto. His description was like a little guidebook to making Prosciutto di Norcia.
During the Roman Age, the meat was dry-salted rather than brined and occurred in pots or barrels. The thighs were layered into the containers and covered with the salt cure.
After five days, the prosciutti were rotated and the meat on the bottom was placed on top and left to cure for another 12 days. Then the salt was wiped off the meat and the prosciutti were hung to dry for 3 days in a breezy environment. Afterwards, the meat was washed, rubbed with oil and lightly smoked for 2 days. It was then rubbed again with oil, and vinegar, and left to age.
Prosciutto di Norcia IGP
The modern preparation varies from the ancient method in a couple of ways. No oil or vinegar is used in the modern method and the salt-rub includes pepper and crushed garlic. Although the containers or barrels are substituted with long wooden boards, this has no major effect on the prosciutto.
According to the older method, the prosciutti must be rubbed with a mixture of lard and flour after 8 months of aging. The meat is then hung in the wind for about two years, giving the product its distinctive character – quite different from the more modern hams.
Prosciutto di Norcia was awarded the IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) recognition. Prociutto Antico di Norcia is produced exclusively in Norcia, whereas Prosciutto di Norcia can be made as far as Perugia, Spoleto or Cascia.