#13 Tinjan – Istrian ham
Slicing local pršut at Konoba na Kapeli. Tinjan, Istria, September 2010
Tinjan is a small settlement southwest of Pazin in the Istrian interior, and its surroundings, elevated and exposed to a cool northeasterly wind, are considered to produce the finest Istrian pršut (dry-cured ham, similar to Italian prosciutto). Though produced widely in Dalmatia, pršut is still made using traditional methods in this part of Istria. The pork is cleaned, lightly salted and left in a wooden press (kasela) for about a week, weighted by stones to drain off any blood. It is then rubbed with a mixture of salt, herbs (bay leaves and rosemary) and pepper, before being hung to ‘dry’ for the winter in the loft or upper storey of a building – and with the arrival of spring and warmer weather, in a cool stone cellar. The entire curing process lasts for between 12 and 18 months, and when the ham has finally matured there can be an enormous difference in taste and colour between hams from different producers, even within such a small area. Tinjan holds a prestigious annual pršut festival in October.
Photo © Rudolf Abraham. No unauthorized use.