from Corsica: the application for Corsican cured ham, Jambon sec de Corse-prisuttu, to receive Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) quality status was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union (No. C80) on 19March 2013. The only PDO application for Nustrale pork products that now remains to be published is that of lonzu pork loin.
Corsica’s soil and climate provide a very favourable environment for forests, which form an important part of the country’s landscape. Chestnut and oak trees in particular are abundant all over the island.
Corsican charcuterie products have a long history and, together with dairy products, form one of the main sources of animal protein in the traditional island diet.
Current livestock farming methods have been handed down from an ancient pastoral tradition, which involved moving herds of pigs around in the forested pastoral lands in the mountains or in summer pastures (rangelands), depending on the forage resources in the area.
The Nustrale pig is an Iberian breed which is local to the region. It is a hardy animal, particularly suited to this type of farming and adept at using the natural resources that it can find. The sows lead the herds around the various types of rangelands, such as wooded areas and mountain pastures, adapting their routes to the changing seasons and the available forage resources in the area.
Corsican cured ham, Jambon sec de Corse-Prisuttu, has the following specific characteristics:
— A specific elongated and flattened form. The hock is thin and elongated.
— The sliced surface shows a lean part which ranges in colour from red to deep red, depending on pigment levels in the muscles.
— The lean part is marbled because of its 6% minimum proportion of intramuscular fat.
— A high level of oleic acid gives the sliced surface an oily look.
— The sliced surface is soft and may even be very greasy, as a result of its high level of lipolysis.
— It has a rich, fruity aroma with a nutty or woody notes or hints of dried ham or mushroom. It tastes peppery and salty, owing to its high salt content of between 6.5 and 10%, and its high fat content gives it an almost sweet flavour.
The finishing process is carried out between October and March for a minimum of 45 days. During this period, the animals feed exclusively on acorns and chestnuts, for which they forage as they roam the finishing areas (oak and chestnut forests) for at least the first 30 days. After this point, their diet can be complemented with barley. Each pig is rationed to a maximum of 4kg per day. The daily rations of barley given by the farmer must not exceed 30% of the pig’s intake of chestnuts and/or acorns during the finishing period.
The salting, drying and maturing process lasts at least 12 months, including at least 4 months of maturing, which is the last stage of the creation of the product and is carried out exclusively in natural ambient conditions. This stage is essential, allowing the product to acquire its texture and develop its flavours.
The geographical area concerned includes certain towns in the départements (regions) of South Corsica and Upper Corsica, in addition to coastal towns.