At the heart of Emilia-Romagna’s cuisine are its many pork products
The word salami, as currently used in English, is actually the plural form of the Italian salame; The word originates from the word sale (salt) with a termination -ame used in Italian as an indicator of collective nouns; the original meaning was thus all kind of salted meats. Emilia Romagnas fine-cured salame is highly regard throughout Italy. Production dates as far back as Roman times, as prior to domestication, Emilia Romagnas exceptionally fertile land provided abundant foraging for wild pigs.
Traditionally every Parma family in the countryside kept a pig, which was butchered in the late fall The winter festival called the “maialata” continues to be celebrated as a time when area restaurants serve all manner of pork specialties.
For centuries, the two most famous, Prosciutto di Parma and Culatello di Zibello have been prized for their enticing aroma and incomparable flavor. Sliced paper thin and meltingly tender, by law, these famous hams can be made and cured only in the gently rolling countryside near Parma.
No matter where you eat, a platter of cured meats is the most frequently served antipasto and a great opportunity to sample the variations in local and individual artisans styles.