PDO Culatello di Zibello is a cold cut from the Parma province, along the banks of the river Po, an area that enjoys a cold-wet climate in winter and hot in summer, a crucial factor for the ageing of this charcuterie.
The origins of PDO Culatello di Zibello are most likely tied to peasant culture in Parma area. The first time this delicacy was officially mentioned was in a document written by the Parma city hall dating back to 1735; in the 19th century, it was cited on a number of occasions by authors including Gabriele D'Annunzio, and the much-loved composer, Giuseppe Verdi. Today, culatello is one of the favourite product of some of the biggest international names, such as the Prince of Wales and the French chef Alain Ducasse.
Concerning the process to produce Culatello di Zibello, the meat used is pork. More specifically, this particular cold cut is made from the rear crural muscles and from the inner side of the pork thigh, produced in the towns of Busseto, Polesine Parmense, Zibello, Soragna, Roccabianca, San Secondo, Sissa and Colorno in the Parma province. The raw material however comes from pigs that were born, raised and butchered in the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions.
The final result is a pear-shaped cold cut with a sweet, mild flavour, obtained from a process that includes various stages, such as flavouring with salt, pepper and garlic, casing, binding and finally ageing for at least 10 months.
Today, the village of Zibello pays tribute to its Culatello with the traditional festival "Festa del Culatello di Zibello", which, among other events, offers the opportunity to taste local dishes; to learn more about this delicacy, it is also possible to visit the Museo del Culatello del Masalén museum.
The flavour of PDO Culatello di Zibello is best enjoyed by itself, simply thinly sliced. But there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your Culatello: before eating it, make sure you remove the twine, scrub it under running water and leave it to soak for two to three days in red or white wine. Then, the skin can then be removed, and the salami is ready to be enjoyed.