From the acetaia we proceeded on to a prosciutto factory. This required a drive through some enchanting countryside, which unfortunately was difficult to photograph from the car.
At the prosciutto factory we walked into the warehouse right off the bat. It was overwhelming, both the quantity of preserved pig, and the smell.
More than just prosciutto, there was guanciale (jowl), pancetta (belly), culatello (a very expensive, separately cured portion of the pig haunch), prosciutto sgambato (boneless prosciutto), spalla (shoulder), and no doubt many more preserved piggy parts. Some were just salt cured, others rubbed with various spice mixtures.
We did get a walk through of the process, including the salting
Then of course there was the tasting. There was plate after plate of various types of salumi, with some token bread sticks and lambrusco ad pignoletto, what seem to be the preferred red and white, respectively of the region. Surrounded by tons of cured pig as I was, I couldn’t help thinking of our own Jimboni.
The tasting was essentially the antipasto to our lunch, for which we went to an agriturismo high up in the hills.
I resisted the urge to photo-document the meal; well, I didn’t really have the urge to begin with. At any rate you’ll have to take my word that we didn’t leave hungry.
I rode back with the Americans, just coincidentally, and rather than disperse we decided to have an aperitivo or two in town when we got back to Bologna. A characteristic of the aperitivo here is that it always comes with food, somewhat like tapas in Spain (at least in those few places in Spain where tapas still come gratis with a drink). When the waitress put out the plates of food alongside our drinks, though, we could barely stand to look at them. It was a nice end to the day, though after two rounds, the heat and the exhaustion of digestion necessitated a little siesta for everyone, so we made our ways to our respective hotels/apartments. It’s a little funny how during an event like this you end up getting quite intimate with what were a few hours before a group of strangers. Then, just as quickly, they disappear.