Prosciutto is the king of cold cuts, easy to find along all the Italian boot, next to other local specialties. Translated as “ham”, it is made from the hind legs of pigs which is aged during a dry-curing process. It can be “cotto” (cooked) or “crudo” (uncooked – raw), and the last one is popular as example to enjoy elegantly wound around thin grissini breadsticks, or typically served in micro-thin sheets. Below you can discover how to pair Italian wine with ham.
What is Aperitivo?
Aperitivo time is a serious business in Italy. It is quite common for Italians saying “See you for an aperitivo”, as it is that magic moment at the end of a busy day to relax, socialize, and gossip. As some of you may guess, aperitivo should be something that opens the stomach before the main meal. Something tasty, yet light. Every region from north to south has its own rules when comes to food & drink, but we can easily say that a glass of a good wine is always a right option everywhere in Italy. The drinks are almost everywhere accompanied by snacks and year after year, the culinary pairings have grown in terms of quality and selection. Sometimes aperitivo can become a light dinner, enjoyed for example with a nice platter of cheese and cold cuts, like ham.
What wines should we drink with Ham?
The salted, cured and fatty meat can perfectly pair with different types of wines: whites, rosé and red, often livened up by a refreshing fizz. Parma and San Daniele raw ham, top products of Italian deli foods, are aromatic and spicy, perfectly balanced between savory and sweet tendency. Thanks to these sensory characteristics, they require a fragrant and elegant wine, which should also be smooth and with good aromatic persistence.
- A chilled glass of Pinot Grigio from Friuli region is the perfect match for Prosciutto di San Daniele, as there is a wonderful combination between the tastiness of ham and the dry aroma of Pinot Grigio. Its bouquet is redolent of acacia blossom, as well as fruity notes of lemon, yellow apple and white peach.
- As a contrast with the fatty feature of ham, a glass of Franciacorta could be the best choice. Thanks to its bubbles, it is the best wine to be paired with the greasy side of Prosciutto. Franciacorta corresponds to both the name of wine and the area where it is made. It is an Italian sparkling wine, made in the exact same way as winemakers in France make Champagne. Its fine and persistent perlage with the delicate flowery scent, makes it a very elegant and pleasant pairing.
- Just in case prosciutto is more savory, red wine is the better option. Usually ham from central or southern Italy has greater spiciness, therefore it calls for a more structured, smoother and persistant wine, as a Sangiovese from Romagna. This wine is made of Sangiovese grapes, the most widespread variety in Italy and its moderate alcohol makes it easy to drink. It’s a balanced wine with that good structure that we are looking for our prosciutto.