Culatello di zibello: how to prepare it and where to buy it

Culatello di zibello: how to prepare it and where to buy it

As you know by now, Vailo is a site where we talk about diets but also about healthy eating and for this reason, today we decided to talk about something particularly tasty.

For many of us, the knowledge of this salami, of which I will now speak to you in a more than exhaustive way, is only in name. For others, however, even the name I will now give is rather unknown:  culatello di zibello.

And what a shame you have never heard of, but ate even more so, this nutritious and protein treat.

Culatello di zibello does not have very ancient origins, until the end of the nineteenth century we have no mention either in the works of historians or in those of local scholars.

It probably seemed rather vulgar to use the term “culatello” for those times.

D’Annuzio, however, broke the censorship in 1891 and in the 1905 Panzini dictionary he was finally counted among the gastronomic specialties.

Let’s see together, then, what it is about.

What is it about

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Culatello is one of the noble Italian cured meats. This is because the production technique of culatello , as well as its processing, are very long and very delicate.

We are talking, in fact, of a salami that is prepared with the nut of the thigh, which is the most valuable part of the pig precisely because it is rare.

Precisely for this reason, many pieces of a year never arrive on the market, only a few thousand, even if in great demand and much celebrated.

Let’s say that the original one needs a completely nose processing, without any refrigeration system for seasoning.

If you follow the traditional techniques, which are very very long, the product arrives pure and very valuable.

After the maturation period the culatello looks like a nice big pear, with a layer of fat right in the convex part, where the net string goes.

When it is cut it is homogeneous red and has the smell and taste of wine, where it was wet before being seasoned, with honeyed and spicy notes then in the aftertaste.

How it is prepared

Do you have in mind how to prepare it and how long it takes for the culatello di zibello?

I don’t think so, so for this very reason I like to spend a few words to explain how culatello works and how difficult and long the preparation period of such a fine salami is.

Let’s talk about the seasoning period. Everything starts with the pork nut, as already mentioned, which is dry salted, with the hands for a period ranging from one day to six days. When the moment of salting ends, the thigh nut is stuffed into the pork casing and tied with string.

After the dripping, which lasts one week, and the drying which lasts from one to two months, it goes for the seasoning that goes from 10 to 14 months.

In suitable rooms, with an always present air recirculation and a maximum temperature of 17 degrees, the DOP culatelli are produced.

The lower Parma area is the PDO place par excellence, that area of ​​the Po Valley most suitable for this long and complicated process for such a precious product.

It could also be interesting to talk about how to eat it. Clearly it can be eaten raw, sliced, and you will discover how good and flavorful it can be.

But it can also be cooked. Here is a recipe for a dish that particularly struck me for its versatility, which is a bundle of apple and culatello, a very interesting appetizer or snack due to the combination of flavors.

The ingredients for 8 bundles are:

  • 300 grams of fuji apples
  • 460 grams of puff pastry (ready-made)
  • 100 grams of thinly sliced ​​culatello
  • 50 grams of orange juice
  • 50 grams of chopped hazelnuts
  • 50 grams of brown sugar
  • 1 egg for brushing

Cut the apples into cubes and in the meantime dissolve the brown sugar in a saucepan adding the orange juice. When it is blended, throw in the apples and let it soften for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts to the mixture.

Cut the puff pastry into squares of 15 cm per side and add the thinly sliced ​​culatello, put a part of the apple mixture and brush the edges with the egg to glue the square of puff pastry that closes the filling (as for a ravioli) . Close the bundle in half and then brush the puff pastry on top to make the crust.

Bake for about 12 minutes at 220 degrees.

Feast of culatello di zibello

Every year, in Zibello in the province of Parma, home of the DOP culatello, the Culatello Festival takes place, now in its 32nd edition. Every year for 4 days the festival hosts starred chefs who use culatello for traditional and innovative recipes, there are food stands that cook culatello and international guests.

Street artists and themed markets close the circle of these 4 days completely dedicated to the king of cold cuts from the lower Parma area.

Price of culatello di zibello

The price of Culatello di Zibello, as you could have guessed, is not low at all, especially if we are talking about Culatello DOP, the one for which no industrial plants are used for aging, which can get to be paid around 90 euros per kilo. A 4-kilo culatello, which is about the weight of the traditional pear-shaped culatello tied by a net of string, is about 360 euros.

It is clear that, when you decide to switch to a less valuable product, you can reach the cost of 80-100 euros but it is certainly one of those semi-industrial products that do not have the DOP mark.

We are talking, as I have already written to you before, of only 50 thousand DOP culatelli, produced per year in the territory of the Bassa.

But the experience to do with a product like culatello is clearly the experience of a good and well-made culatello. Here we always talk about fresh and good products, about quality at the expense of quantity.

We must know what we eat, we must be able to understand which product we are eating and also eat little but eat it fresh and good. We are not for chemical crap, we are not for industrial products, we are for things done well.

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