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The Bergonzi Family, Emilia. Culatello, Strolghino and Mariola

Colorno, Parma.

Culatello di Zibello is made during the winter months on the southern plain of the river Po, an area where the summers are hot and humid, the winters cold and foggy. To cure any cut of meat in such conditions is very difficult. Our Culatello is made by Podere Cadassa, the medieval home of the Bergonzi family. Their cellar is unusual because it was built expressly for curing meats with just one original north-facing window to let in the river fog and a small west facing one to enable the air to circulate inside. The moulds that grow in the unique microbiomes of these cellars are plentiful and through their microscopic root systems they create the particular musky sweetness of the meat through enzymes and airborne yeasts. Using only salt as a preservative, the culatelli hang in the mouldy cellar until they are ready.  This long, foggy ageing combined with thermophilic fermentation (that occurs at higher, summer temperatures as no artificial temperature control is allowed) makes them completely matchless in both taste and texture. The offcuts from making the culatello are used to make their strolghino and mariola salami which are also only made in this very small, lowland area, the Bassa Parmense.