The affluent northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna is probably best known as the country’s pig-happy salumi centre. Considered the best ham the Culatello production begins during winter months using local pigs that have been fattened on legumes and grains. Once the hind leg is boned and divided, the Culatello is massaged for several days, first with garlic and wine, then with salt and pepper. Packed in a clean pig’s bladder (for suppleness) and bundled tightly with twine, the meat does a stint in a cool, dry cantina before cellaring anywhere from 14 to 48 months. Prosciutto di Parma hangs unattended in a climate-controlled facility, Culatello needs constant minding. The salumaio must know exactly when to open and close the cellar windows to the misty Po breezes in order to aid the formation of noble mould, and keep away excessive heat and humidity. Plus, the hams must be rotated around the cellar every few months. It requires intuition and patience and as the ham ages it loses up to half its moisture and weight while gaining in flavor—and price.