choice ham

The finest of all Italian hams, culatello (literally 'little bum') is the best part of the ham, deboned and cured tied up in a pig's bladder for about a year. Much of it comes from the Padana, or Po plain shared by Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, where the humidity and fog of winter and heat of summer combine to make ideal conditions for ageing pork.

DOP culatello comes from Zibello, near Parma; it's also in the Ark of Taste. Also see fiocchetto, 'culatello's little brother.'

Culaccia, which also comes from around Parma, is much the same, only cured in its rind instead of the bladder.

For beef, culata or culatello can also mean what is usually called scamone: sirlon or tenderloin.

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