U.S. Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Return of Prosciutto di Parma

Retailers around the country are marking this month’s milestone with special events and Parma-inspired dishes.

For all of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, U.S.-based fans of real Italian Prosciutto di Parma were out of luck. Due to a ban on the importing of the cured meat, diners had to instead make do with prosciutto that was made in the United States from American hogs, then hung to dry in warehouses in states like Virginia and Missouri. Even though some of these versions were crafted by Italian companies, the taste, naturally, was not the same—and they reflected none of the history or artisanal know-how of the real deal.

In October 1989, however, the 20-year ban was lifted, and Prosciutto di Parma was officially welcomed back into the U.S. In writing about the occasion at the time, the Chicago Tribune explained to its readers that this was not the type of ham that would be found in a sandwich, tucked between slices of cheese and globs of mustard. Instead, they compared the gourmet product to luxury items like caviar or a BMW. “The flavor is concentrated and outstanding,” they wrote, “and at more than $20 a pound, prosciutto di Parma automatically is destined to become a trendy, yuppy extravagance.”

To read the rest of the story, please go to: La Cucina Italiana