Sometimes, when I pull open a pack of pre sliced Parma ham, I wonder what the fuss is about. The ham can be a little bit ho-hum flavourless, a little bit dry. Of course, if there’s a decent deli that cuts proscuitto to order I go there. But now I have another option. And it involves a pilgrimage to a tiny town to the south of Parma called Traversetolo. This is where Rosa dell’Angelo is based.
Just off the roundabout as you go into town is Rosa dell’Angelo’s Prosciutto Bar. It’s a modern, big wooden tables kind of place with views of the curing room next door in the little factory where the hams are made. And my, what hams. I think their ‘Maiale Nero Prosciutto Crudo’ is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s extremely expensive and produced in limited quantities, and when you have a look at how the pigs (the Romagnolo breed) are reared you can see why.
These pigs are not only free range, their paddock has its feed troughs, showers and shelters strategically placed on a steep hillside so the pigs are forced to exercise. A well toned haunch means a fabulous textured proscuitto. They cannot call this Prosciutto di Parma as only white pigs can be used within this DPO. Rosa dell’Angelo’s is top quality and it’s worth going to visit them to buy a joint of the ham , as I did. I took it back with me to the UK and got a friendly local butcher to slice it up for me. It kept us happy for a couple of weeks.
You can book a tour of the farm and the factory. There is also a country fair/sustainable agriculture festival held on the farm in September. And you can hire classy, comfortable huts to camp in, with lovely views of the vineyards and countryside beyond. You’re given your own shower and dressing room in the main building.
Go visit, go eat. It’s great.
PS the black pigs in the photo are still pinkish because they’d only recently been moved outdoors (Parma winters being a bit too cold for piglets). They have yet to develop a ‘tan’