San Daniele prosciutto: Perna perexuctus

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My interest in prosciutto crudo di San Daniele or San Daniele prosciutto was first kindled by an ageing Italian diplomat. I was staying with some friends in Tuscany and on the lunch table was a large plate of prosciutto crudo (the word prosciutto is derived from the Latin perexuctus meaning 'deprived of all liquid'). This type of ham is generally, and often incorrectly, referred to as 'Parma' ham. An erroneous name if used to indicate a style, when in fact it proudly expresses the location of its origin and both Parma and prosciutto crudo di San Daniele have protected status "denominazione di origine protetta (DOP)" under both national and European legislation Note 1Origin labelled products
Various laws enacted in both Italy and the European Community protect the rights of certain producers to label their products with the origin of their produce. As with wine, many gastronomic products are increasingly resorting to legislation to protect their manufacture from the invasion of counterfeits which, if not cheaper are at least produced more cheaply. So it is with Parmiggiano Reggiano, prosciutto crudo, and olive oil. The European Community is committed to OLPs (Origin labelled products) compatible with ‘humanity, innovation and sustainability’ but not compatible with my idea of how to spell ‘labelled’ which they refer to as ‘labbelled’. The invocation of the origin phenomenon resides at the highest courts and may turn up in the oddest places claiming every kind of legal sanction and protection. o-nly a few years ago the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma lodged a complaint pursuant to Article 4 of the Trade Barrier Regulation (TBR) in order to eliminate certain alleged Canadian trade practices, which adversely affect its exports of Prosciutto di Parma to Canada. The important legislation they cited included Articles 10bis and 10ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; - Article 22 of the WTO Agreement o-n Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); - Article XI.1 of the GATT 1994.

In 1990, the Italian parliament passed a new law – no. 30 dated 14 February 1990 – safeguarding San Daniele prosciutto. This is the legislative instrument that currently disciplines San Daniele prosciutto and o-n the basis of which, through EC regulation no. 1017/96 dated 12 June 1992, the European Union registered the DOP (‘denominazione di origine protetta’, or ‘protected designation of origin’) label for San Daniele prosciutto, in accordance with EEC reg. no. 2081/92, which establishes community-level protection for ‘denominazione di origine’-label agricultural and food products. A decree from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policy dated 26 April 2002 delegated to the Consorzio the protection of Prosciutto di San Daniele, partly in compliance with article 14, paragraph 15, of Italian Law no. 526, dated 21 December 1999. This ministerial decree renewed recognition of the Consorzio by the Italian State in compliance with a regulation that in 2000 reorganised the entire field of protection consortia for DOP and IGP products in Italy. Currently, the designation of origin is protected by the Italian State in relation to Italy’s administrative infrastructure (the organisation of consortia, sanctions and so o-n). It is also defended by the European Union, which lays down the requirements for the regulation and monitoring of ham production within the framework of the strategies for promoting agricultural and agri-food products o-n which the European Union has based part of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).As an additional example, ‘Parmiggiano Reggiano’ has been registered as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) since 1996.. Anyway, said diplomat remarked (somewhat undiplomatically, I thought) that whilst Parma ham was OK as far as it went nothing could compare with "prosciutto crudo di San Daniele tagliato al mano". His face took on the expression of one who had attained some ineffable gratification in an exotic land. My gaze wandered over to my hostess to see if she had understood that she had been accused of being a duffer but she seemed not the least bit put out feigning (I presumed) an interest in this recondite revelation.

Shortly after this I came across a reference to the history of ham-making in San Daniele and remembering the diplomat’s ethereal visage when mentioning its ham I persevered with an article I might otherwise have confined to my shoe-cleaning box (which is where I kept all my newspapers in those days). Apparently, it was the Celts, who descended from the mountains above Friuli, who first made use of salt to conserve pork which they consumed in large quantities perhaps as early as 200-300 years BC.

The invention of air curing is also attributed to the Celts: a simple, but miraculous technique when compared to humdrum salt preservation.

I thus headed for San Daniele, a picturesque small hill town in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia to discover the secrets of ‘prosciutto crudo di San Daniele’ and, in particular, just what made this so different from other ‘crudo’ in the market.

Some distinctions: terroir and manufacture
All stages of the air-curing process are entirely natural with the exception of the salting stage at the commencement of the process. Over the centuries little has changed. And, like traditional practices in winemaking it draws the maximum flavour and natural goodness out of the best raw materials to be found. Blowing out of the north are the cool dry winds which, if you are of a romantic turn of mind, might think collect the perfumes of the ‘Foresta di Tarvisio’ saddled between the 'Alpi Carniche' and 'Alpi Giulie', home of the Pinetum-Austro Alpinum and a profusion of primordial plants and not too far from San Daniele: this matchless fragrance is then channelled into the topographic funnel of the 'Canal del Ferro' and on into the prosciutto factories. The Adriatic is about 35-40 kilometres away, and the alternating cold dry air from the mountains with the warmer more humid air of the sea are all part of the necessary process by which the ham is cured. Prosciutto factories in San Daniele still use the local winds to cure their meat although they have now have the luxury of turning on the air conditioning if the appropriate temperature and humidity parameters are not suitable on a particular day. The glacial ancestry of this territory provides the excellent drainage properties and completes the terroir which, in part, is what explains the uniqueness of taste, along with specifications as to the origins of the raw material and other criteria developed by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele to maintain the quality of the product on behalf of their 28 members.

From the very start the ham is so strictly labelled you could send a postcard to its mother. There are thus four stamps on the ham when it is released: an indelible breeder stamp (this includes not just the code for the farm from whence the original ham came but also the year the pig was born), and an indelible abattoir stamp. The DOT stamp shows the month the curing process began (which after a quick calculation will tell you how long the ham has matured). The establishment which produced the prosciutto has its own mark too and the final brand is from the Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele showing it has been approved for sale and fulfilled the minimum necessary period of maturation – not less than 12 months.

So, apart from the terroir, other distinctions are due partially as a result of the amount of desiccation to be attained (some 30% of the original weight of the leg), the amount of salting to be done (the ham is under salt for at least one day for every kilo of weight) and the maturation period. Thus, there is a difference in taste that gives ham from San Daniele, a softer, sweeter, less salty flavour than other hams. There is no sinewy texture nor is it at all tough. Another difference is in the choice of the raw material. The hams are chosen from specially selected pigs reared in a traditional manner throughout Italy Note 2 Types of pigs
The pigs used for the preparation of San Daniele air-cured ham comes from eleven Italian regions where they are born, bred and slaughtered. Pigs must belong to traditional genotypes (Large White and Landrace breeds) and may be cross-bred with the Duroc breed or hybridized but must nevertheless comply with the requisite rules laid down in the National Pedigree Register for ‘Italian Heavy Pigs’. Specifically, pigs must have an average weight of no less than 160 kgs at slaughter, which must take place at least nine months after the animal’s date of birth. A number of breeds are listed as unsuitable and the use of thighs from boars and sows is explicitly forbidden.
The 11 certified producing areas for pigs suitable for Prosciutto di San Daniele are:
Friuli-Venezia-Giulia
Veneto
Lombardy
Emilia Romagna
Piedmont
Tuscany
Umbria
Marche
Lazio
Abruzzo
Molise
. No ham at the start of the process should weigh less than 11 kilograms which should give it the optimum meat to fat ratio. On my visit to a factory I could see the process at first hand: at reception the thighs are checked and as many as 10-12% are rejected as not suitable. The larger the ham the more time it can spend maturing – sometimes as long as 20 months when it might also show small pearls of white on the flesh – which is simply tyrosine (a substance produced by protein as it ages) and indicates a good long maturation period. Sweetness comes to the ham as the water leaves it. Industrialisation, often a dirty word, is here used to alleviate the fatiguing process of rubbing salt into the hams, washing them and transporting them around different maturation chambers that must be maintained at different temperatures. The first salting is simply preliminary and occurs on arrival. The ham sits for about 5 days like this. After, they are salted again in a more rigorous procedure according to the formula of one day under salt for every kilo of weight. Thus, a 12 kilogram ham matures for 12 days under salt. During this time the ham is kept fairly cold – around 2-4°c with a high level of humidity present. During the first 100 days the ham will lose up to 20% of its weight. After this time it is then washed down with warm water and moved to the maturing area for not less than 8 months. The San Daniele trotter remains as part of its trademark but it also has a purpose in the drying process.

After about 6 months into the cycle the exposed meat area is covered with a paste of fat and rice flour (‘stucco’) which helps maintain the exposed area moist so it can continue to dry effectively. After 12 months, and not before, a member of the Consorzio come around and inspect the branding of the meat with the San Daniele insignia (see photo) but the ham may continue to be matured before release.

How is it health wise?
I was still more surprised to find encouraging results on the health-giving properties of the ham. At least on the principal, which I have always found to be true, that those things I like the best are the least good for me — ‘foie gras’ being a case in point. Following various investigations into the chemical and bio-chemical properties of these hams it is now accepted that they are high in protein and rich in minerals – particularly iron and zinc and also the vitamin B complex. As more evidence points to the risk of cancer from char-grilled steaks Note 311th Report on Carcinogens, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Pursuant to Section 301(b) (4) of the Public Health Service Act as Amended by Section 262, PL 95-622.
Because the charred, blackened bits contain chemicals called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. They are compounds formed from a reaction between amino acids and creatine when meats (including beef, pork, fowl, and fish) are cooked at high temperatures.
Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.

(another one of my favourites) ‘raw’ ham could be a good replacement. Not only that but the protein content is very high Note 4Percentage of protein in various foods per 100g.
Cheese 8-47
Fresh fish 10-22
Fresh vegetables 27
Dried vegetables 16-37
Prosciutto crudo 22
Various meats 13-25
Whole egg 13
White bread 8
Whole cows milk 3
Fresh fruit 0,2-26

Source: Societá Italiana di Nutrione Umana.
. Prosciutto is also low in cholesterol Note 5Studies by the National Institute for Nutrition
Published in 1994 the Studies have shown that pork from the Italian ‘heavy’ pig used for producing hams and traditional Italian sausages has made unexpected progress from the nutritional point of view. The fat content of pork has continued to fall, and an even more important improvement is the quality of the pork fat itself. The saturated acids contained in fats consumed with ham have fallen to 30% of previous levels and now 75% of unsaturated acids comprise mono-unsaturates (the same type of acids found in olive oil). The cholesterol content is comparable to that of sole or beef. It is also well-known that in defatted ham (that is ham with the outer fatty layer removed), the total fat content is between 3% and 5% of the edible part of the product. All the credit must go to the pig. Purpose-reared and appropriately fed, today’s pig has a larger quantity of leaner meat with a thinner (but not too thin) layer of subcutaneous fat.

Above all, it has a substantial content of so-called ‘noble’ proteins. According to the N.I.N. studies, the average food value of a San Daniele ham may be summed up as follows: water: 58% ; proteins: 29% ; fats: 5% . This compares very favourably with other meats.

For example, lean beef is only around 19-22% protein. Moreover the protein is of the hydolised variety which makes it acceptable to babies whose digestive systems are less-well developed. The meat is also full of ‘free’ amino-acids. Also, checks carried out in he early months of 1994 to verify the analytical parameters of prosciutto di San Daniele showed an average salt content (sodium chloride, or sea-salt) of 5.9% (although other DOP-labelled air-cured hams will probably have a similar profile). Feeding regimes of so-called ‘abattoir pigs’ (max weight 120-140kgs) that make up the bulk of foreign pig farm production are different in a variety of ways not least of which is that the pig farm may use additives which is specifically prohibited under Consorzio regulations.
Source: Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele
and is highly digestible — being very suitable for babies and older people who may have digestive problems with more conventional foods.

Tasting and eating
The meat should be a uniform colour, varying between red and pink, with a reasonable quantity of pure white fat that gives the ham its texture and a fair bit of flavour. The fat is also very delicate and people sometimes make the mistake of cutting the ham with a slicing machine that is revolving too fast – this burns or ‘cooks’ the fat altering its taste and texture. This is why there are those who prefer it to be cut by hand or, at least, with a hand turning slicer.

Best is to eat the ham on its own or with bread or cheese. Cooked it tends to develop some bitterness from the salting unless care is exercised. However, my wife managed to make an excellent pasta recipe of Marcella Hazan which used ‘prosciutto crudo’ and ‘radicchio Tarvisiano’. It is one of the few meats which go really well with fruits such as melon (classic) or figs and, of course, with salads, and grilled vegetables. If cut by hand the texture is rougher, the taste more powerful but it is also has a concentration of flavour which would match a handful of the diaphanous sheets delicately cut with an appropriate slicing machine.

In order to have a fuller tasting of different hams in a variety of ways I went to the Restaurant ‘Al Picaron’, a short drive away from the main town and from whose restaurant one can sit enjoy a view of the surrounding hills and the main town itself. Whilst there I managed to sample 5 different ways of enjoying their indigenous ham (see a few recipes at the end of the article).

Prosciutto crudo of this kind if often best on its own but the dishes served demonstrated very well its versatility. One needs to take great care when cooking prosciutto crudo as Chef della cucina Claudio de Stefano explained. ‘One must cook it very slowly, and best would be in butter. Harsh treatment of the ham only brings out a latent bitterness – better also not to use olive oil (which is too fat tasting) and would likely be too hot to retain the hams delicate flavours, but it depends on the dish’.

We drank the local wine – a Tocai Friulano. A fresh dry white wine with enough body to combat the salt flavours but not too much to overcome the delicate tastes. A delicious combination especially allied to the innate smoothness of this particular grape. But since the end of last year it now seems likely that the Italians will have to change the name of their wine (if not the grape) as a result of the most sophisticated reasoning ever produced in a court of law Note 6Tokaj and Tocai
In December 2004, the Advocate General delivered an opinion favourable for Hungary in case C347/03, referred to the ECJ by an Italian Court. The case was initiated by Italian authorities, questioning the legality of a prohibition, due to take effect in 2007, o-n the use in Italy of the grape variety names ‘Tocai friulano’ and its synonym ‘Tocai italico’ o-n wine labels. The prohibition originally derives from an agreement o-n wine names between the Community and Hungary seeking to protect the Hungarian geographical indication ‘Tokaj’. The applicants argued that the prohibition was superseded by the TRIPs Agreement, geographical indications are indications which identify a product as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. According to the Advocate General, Tokaj is a geographical indication whereas Tocai friulano is not a geographical indication but is a variety of grapes, therefore the prohibition of using ‘Tocai’ is not a breach of the TRIPs Agreement.
Source: Competition Alert, Coudert Brothers LLP, January 2005.
. Perhaps the view is that as Italy already has some 400 other autochthonous grape varieties they won’t miss this one. Judging from the rules which prohibit the use of the label ‘méthode champenoise’ outside of Champagne (what champagne producer has ever used this on a label, or would?) I think it unlikely that Tocai Friulano will be around much longer. It is an odd coincidence that San Daniele once sent its hams as a gesture of goodwill to the Hungarian Royal Family — it is the noble Hungarian Tokaj which has complained.

After a long day asking interminable questions and enjoying some gastronomic pleasures I headed home and my mind unexpectedly turned to a strange coincidence. Mingled amongst all my thoughts on pigs and their derivatives I happened to think of two stories with which I was acquainted and which bore a couple of peculiar titular congruities. Mr Blandings builds his Dream House (directed by H C Potter) is a 1948 American comedy starring Cary Grant, as Jim Blandings. The story’s sub-plot revolves around Jim Blandings (Grant) having to invent a slogan for an important client – Wham! Yep (if you’ve seen the movie you might appreciate the esoteric reference), another pig derived product but whose unhappy destination is a tin can. The best before real inspiration took over that the untalented Mr Blandings could come up with was ‘This little piggy went to market, as meek and as mild as a lamb, He smiled in his tracks when they slipped him the axe, He knew he’d turn out to be Wham!’ Terrific! But then I was struck by the fact that the association of the name Blandings with an important piggish reference was not unique. Blandings Castle by P.G. Wodehouse was first published in the US in 1935. Its eccentric aristocratic owner Lord Emsworth, lived with his cherished prize pig, the Empress of Blandings. Bertie Wooster and his near-omniscient manservant Jeeves are frequent if ill-starred visitors. His little piggie’s life had an altogether more happy outcome. And I suppose one might say the same for those destined to be become 'prosciutto crudo di San Daniele'. But if, like Dorothy Parker, you feel that ‘eternity is a ham and two people’ then console yourself that you may purchase a small packet of it pre-sliced if not available fresh from your delicatessen or even, that an unboned ham might last several months, even unrefrigerated, but sadly, never forever. Note 7With grateful thanks to the Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele and Claudio de Stefano of 'Al Picaron'.

RECIPES from 'Al Picaron'

San Daniele (18 mese) con asparagi verdi marinati

Ingredients (4 people):
8 thinly cut slices of prosciutto crudo di San Daniele
350g of agreen asparagus
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
A few mint leaves

Procedure

Wash and peal the asparagus. Dry them thoroughly, then divide them into three parts each about 5cms long. Taking each part in turn slice them thinly in a longitudinal section (about 1mm thick). Lightly salt them and distribute them in a colander and leave for at least an hour so that they lose any excess water. Arrange in a dish, pepper lightly, squeeze a lemon over the top and sprinkle a few leaves of mint. Pour over enough olive oil to cover them and put in the fridge for at least two hours. Divide the asparagus into four equal portions and arrange them on a plate in a fan shape. Take two slices of prosciutto per person creating the shape of a flower. Add next to the asparagus and serve when required.

Rotolini di prosciutto e asparagi

Ingredients (for 4 people):

500g of asparagus, 8 slices of prosciutto crudo di San Daniele, 50g of butter, 50g of mature Montasio cheese, Parsley, Extra virgin olive oil, Salt.

Procedure

Boil the asparagus, put on a plate and allow to cool. Once cold, wrap each piece of asparagus with a slice of prosciutto and cut in half. Arrange the asparagus on a serving plate and sprinkle with a handful of cheese. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan and cook until just a hazel colour, then, using a spoon, ladle the butter over the asparagus, dust with a pinch of chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Tagliolini alla San Daniele in cestino di grana croccante al sesamo e scaglie di grana

Ingredients (4 people)

280g of fresh spinach tagliolini
4 thin slices of prosciutto crudo di San Daniele
120g of prosciutto crudo di San Daniele cut to 3mm thickness
240g of grated Grana Padana or Parmiggiano Reggiano
Sesame seeds
125g of single cream
Salt and pepper
Brandy

Procedure

First prepare the cheese basket: For each basket, take 60g of grated Grana and cover a sheet of oven paper creating a cricle of cheese of about 18cm in diameter. Powder a few of the sesame seeds and sprinkle over the Grana. Put in an over and cook on a high heat for about 2 minutes (or in a micro-wave), or until the Grana has gone a deep golden colour. Take the oven paper and invert the cheese disc over an upturned glass, in order to obtain the shape of the basket. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes.

Cut the prosciutto into julienne strips heat up slowly on a low heat in non-stick pan containing olive oil, adding first the brandy and then the cream. Boil the tagliolini in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente and when ready, add to the pan with the prosciutto. Mix up well and serve immediately dividing up the portions equally into the cheese baskets. As a final touch take each thin piece of prosciutto and role it up to make it look like a flower and add to the basket.


This article was first published in April, 2005 on www.finewinepress.com

References   [ + ]

1. Origin labelled products Various laws enacted in both Italy and the European Community protect the rights of certain producers to label their products with the origin of their produce. As with wine, many gastronomic products are increasingly resorting to legislation to protect their manufacture from the invasion of counterfeits which, if not cheaper are at least produced more cheaply. So it is with Parmiggiano Reggiano, prosciutto crudo, and olive oil. The European Community is committed to OLPs (Origin labelled products) compatible with ‘humanity, innovation and sustainability’ but not compatible with my idea of how to spell ‘labelled’ which they refer to as ‘labbelled’. The invocation of the origin phenomenon resides at the highest courts and may turn up in the oddest places claiming every kind of legal sanction and protection. o-nly a few years ago the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma lodged a complaint pursuant to Article 4 of the Trade Barrier Regulation (TBR) in order to eliminate certain alleged Canadian trade practices, which adversely affect its exports of Prosciutto di Parma to Canada. The important legislation they cited included Articles 10bis and 10ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; - Article 22 of the WTO Agreement o-n Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); - Article XI.1 of the GATT 1994. In 1990, the Italian parliament passed a new law – no. 30 dated 14 February 1990 – safeguarding San Daniele prosciutto. This is the legislative instrument that currently disciplines San Daniele prosciutto and o-n the basis of which, through EC regulation no. 1017/96 dated 12 June 1992, the European Union registered the DOP (‘denominazione di origine protetta’, or ‘protected designation of origin’) label for San Daniele prosciutto, in accordance with EEC reg. no. 2081/92, which establishes community-level protection for ‘denominazione di origine’-label agricultural and food products. A decree from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policy dated 26 April 2002 delegated to the Consorzio the protection of Prosciutto di San Daniele, partly in compliance with article 14, paragraph 15, of Italian Law no. 526, dated 21 December 1999. This ministerial decree renewed recognition of the Consorzio by the Italian State in compliance with a regulation that in 2000 reorganised the entire field of protection consortia for DOP and IGP products in Italy. Currently, the designation of origin is protected by the Italian State in relation to Italy’s administrative infrastructure (the organisation of consortia, sanctions and so o-n). It is also defended by the European Union, which lays down the requirements for the regulation and monitoring of ham production within the framework of the strategies for promoting agricultural and agri-food products o-n which the European Union has based part of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).As an additional example, ‘Parmiggiano Reggiano’ has been registered as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) since 1996.
2. Types of pigs The pigs used for the preparation of San Daniele air-cured ham comes from eleven Italian regions where they are born, bred and slaughtered. Pigs must belong to traditional genotypes (Large White and Landrace breeds) and may be cross-bred with the Duroc breed or hybridized but must nevertheless comply with the requisite rules laid down in the National Pedigree Register for ‘Italian Heavy Pigs’. Specifically, pigs must have an average weight of no less than 160 kgs at slaughter, which must take place at least nine months after the animal’s date of birth. A number of breeds are listed as unsuitable and the use of thighs from boars and sows is explicitly forbidden. The 11 certified producing areas for pigs suitable for Prosciutto di San Daniele are: Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Veneto Lombardy Emilia Romagna Piedmont Tuscany Umbria Marche Lazio Abruzzo Molise
3. 11th Report on Carcinogens, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pursuant to Section 301(b) (4) of the Public Health Service Act as Amended by Section 262, PL 95-622. Because the charred, blackened bits contain chemicals called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. They are compounds formed from a reaction between amino acids and creatine when meats (including beef, pork, fowl, and fish) are cooked at high temperatures. Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
4. Percentage of protein in various foods per 100g. Cheese 8-47 Fresh fish 10-22 Fresh vegetables 27 Dried vegetables 16-37 Prosciutto crudo 22 Various meats 13-25 Whole egg 13 White bread 8 Whole cows milk 3 Fresh fruit 0,2-26 Source: Societá Italiana di Nutrione Umana.
5. Studies by the National Institute for Nutrition Published in 1994 the Studies have shown that pork from the Italian ‘heavy’ pig used for producing hams and traditional Italian sausages has made unexpected progress from the nutritional point of view. The fat content of pork has continued to fall, and an even more important improvement is the quality of the pork fat itself. The saturated acids contained in fats consumed with ham have fallen to 30% of previous levels and now 75% of unsaturated acids comprise mono-unsaturates (the same type of acids found in olive oil). The cholesterol content is comparable to that of sole or beef. It is also well-known that in defatted ham (that is ham with the outer fatty layer removed), the total fat content is between 3% and 5% of the edible part of the product. All the credit must go to the pig. Purpose-reared and appropriately fed, today’s pig has a larger quantity of leaner meat with a thinner (but not too thin) layer of subcutaneous fat. Above all, it has a substantial content of so-called ‘noble’ proteins. According to the N.I.N. studies, the average food value of a San Daniele ham may be summed up as follows: water: 58% ; proteins: 29% ; fats: 5% . This compares very favourably with other meats. For example, lean beef is only around 19-22% protein. Moreover the protein is of the hydolised variety which makes it acceptable to babies whose digestive systems are less-well developed. The meat is also full of ‘free’ amino-acids. Also, checks carried out in he early months of 1994 to verify the analytical parameters of prosciutto di San Daniele showed an average salt content (sodium chloride, or sea-salt) of 5.9% (although other DOP-labelled air-cured hams will probably have a similar profile). Feeding regimes of so-called ‘abattoir pigs’ (max weight 120-140kgs) that make up the bulk of foreign pig farm production are different in a variety of ways not least of which is that the pig farm may use additives which is specifically prohibited under Consorzio regulations. Source: Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele
6. Tokaj and Tocai In December 2004, the Advocate General delivered an opinion favourable for Hungary in case C347/03, referred to the ECJ by an Italian Court. The case was initiated by Italian authorities, questioning the legality of a prohibition, due to take effect in 2007, o-n the use in Italy of the grape variety names ‘Tocai friulano’ and its synonym ‘Tocai italico’ o-n wine labels. The prohibition originally derives from an agreement o-n wine names between the Community and Hungary seeking to protect the Hungarian geographical indication ‘Tokaj’. The applicants argued that the prohibition was superseded by the TRIPs Agreement, geographical indications are indications which identify a product as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. According to the Advocate General, Tokaj is a geographical indication whereas Tocai friulano is not a geographical indication but is a variety of grapes, therefore the prohibition of using ‘Tocai’ is not a breach of the TRIPs Agreement. Source: Competition Alert, Coudert Brothers LLP, January 2005.
7. With grateful thanks to the Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele and Claudio de Stefano of 'Al Picaron'.

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