Pancetta Piacentina (Piacenza pancetta)
DOP Pancetta Piacentina is a salted, naturally cured product, preserved uncooked. It is made from the ventral part of the outer fat of the half carcass, going from the retrosternal to the inguinal region, and the muscle bundles of the trunk. The finished product has a cylindrical shape and weighs from 5 kg to 8 kg. The colour is bright red interspersed with the pure white of the fat parts. The meat has a pleasant smell, and the flavour is sweet and full. Fresh pig thighs from animals born, raised and slaughtered in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy and which meet production requirements are used for the raw material.
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA: The making of Pancetta Piacentina takes place in the area of the Province of Piacenza, limited to those areas no higher than 900 metres elevation.
EVIDENCE OF ORIGIN: The making of Piacenza processed pork products, and especially of Pancetta Piacentina, has taken place since Roman times and has been handed down over time, becoming concentrated in the geographic area.
The history of the product goes back to the development of a typical rural culture common to the entire Po Valley, the area supplying the raw materials, which are then processed in an area which is much smaller and which has well-established, particular traditions regarding this product.
The product's origin is thus connected with the spreading of pig-breeding in the area and with the particular climatic conditions. Historical references to Pancetta Piacentina are found in the gastronomic traditions of the Po Valley. At the present time, the production rules follow the lines of the already existing specific national regulations for the designation of origin prosciutti of Parma and San Daniele.
ACQUISITION: Pancetta Piacentina production includes the following stages: trimming; dry-salting; tying; drying and ageing. Ageing begins at the time of salting, and must take place for a period of no less than two months.
LINK: The requirements for Pancetta Piacentina depend on the environmental conditions and on natural and human factors. In particular, the unique character of the raw material is strictly tied to the defined geographic macro zone. In the area which supplies the raw material, the development of livestock-breeding is linked to the extensive cultivation of grains and to the processing of dairy products, which is particularly specialised, making the area very suitable for pig-breeding. The justification for the localised production of Pancetta Piacentina lies in the particular conditions of the microzone. The environmental factors are closely tied to the characteristics of the production area, where cool, wide valleys with abundant water and hilly wooded areas predominate, having a great influence on the climate and on the characteristics of the finished product. The set of "raw material - product - name" is linked to the specific socioeconomic development of this geographic area, with certain characteristics irreproducible elsewhere.
GASTRONOMY: The best way to preserve DOP Pancetta Piacentina is to keep it in the fridge, after having carefully washed the rind and wrapped it in a damp cloth. Traditionally it is eaten raw as an entrée, either with other charcuterie products or served with broad beans or pecorino cheese. It is also excellent cooked and is used as an ingredient in many outstanding recipes from the Italian gastronomy.
Reference: The European Commission