The Crudo di Cuneo DOP is made from traditional Italian Large White and Landrace pig breeds, as improved by the Italian herd book (LGI), or from the progeny of the same breeds, pigs born from purebred Duroc Italian boars, as improved by the LGI, or again, from the progeny of boars of other breeds or hybrid boars, provided that such boars come from selection or crossing schemes compatible with those for the production of heavy pigs.
The origin of the raw materials used in animal feedstuffs, mainly sourced from the same designated production area of Crudo di Cuneo PDO, contributes to guaranteeing the health of animals. At the time of slaughter, the animals must be at least eight months of age.
Processing involves the following steps:
Shortly after slaughter, the fresh haunches are isolated from the half-carcases.
Haunches are sent to processing if they are from animals slaughtered no less than 24 hours previously, and no later than 120 hours afterwards. The trotter is removed is and they are trimmed prior to chilling. When salting, the temperature of the haunches must be between -1 and +3°C. It is forbidden to freeze the haunches.
Haunches are dry cured with dry or partially humidified salt. Salt can contain small amounts of crushed black pepper and vinegar, which may be mixed with spices or spice extracts or natural antioxidants, but preservatives cannot be used. This stage lasts at least two weeks. Salting ensures the capillary ascent of moisture still present in the haunches’ meat, which, with curing, helps to ensure that the ham acquires its distinctive organoleptic characteristics.
Haunches are made to rest for a period of no less than 50 days after the end of the salting, inside rooms with temperature and humidity conditions such as to ensure optimal cool-drying.
Any rough edges formed after drying are removed; haunches are washed and dried.
Curing lasts for at least ten months from the beginning of the salting stage. It must take place in suitable premises, equipped with suitable vents to ensure good air circulation. In the first stage, temperatures are kept at around 12-18° C, while in the later stage (aging), this can be from 15-23° C. Crudo di Cuneo DOP’s curing is uniform and distinctive: on the lean ham surface, conditions are created through a moderate increase of humidity, for the appropriate development of yeast able to convert the protein component in the lean part, releasing peptides capable of contributing significantly to both the flavour as to the aroma of the finished product and its digestibility.
Greasing takes place, on several occasions, during the curing period. On the muscle surface a mixture composed of lard, salt and rice or wheat flour is applied, and then also powdered black or white pepper.