It was a long journey, but the culatello is finally ready. Actually, it was ready about 4 months ago. We cut into it to celebrate the birth of my son as it just happened to have lost enough weight by then and felt hard enough to go for it. It lost a total of about 40% weight in about 7 or 8 months in the curing chamber. I guess I was so excited to taste it that I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing before cutting it!
Here is a nice picture of the culatello after being cut. This is about 1/2 (excluding what i’ve eaten). The other 1/2 was taken by my brother and quickly devoured.
There was a small air pocket on the top left which I think is where I cut around the bone. Luckily it didn’t affect anything. Next time I’ll be sure to clean up loose flaps of meat
|Backside of the culatello. It molded up nicely on the areas where there was meat contact with the casing. Where there were thick layers of fat the mold didn’t grown, which is something I’ve noticed before on other meats too.|
|Sliced and ready to eat. So good. So, so good. |
Overall it’s delicious. Really really fantastic. The aroma is intoxicating. It smells like old caves and ancient places. It’s has a nice strong flavor sort of like a prosciutto but with some added……funk. It’s hard to describe. It’s very tender. There is a small ring on the outermost edge which is just a little harder. I think if i had followed the traditional method to wrap the culatello in a wine soaked cloth for a couple days before cutting it would have softened it. I may still do that.
The flavor is much better than the fiocco, The additional waiting time was certainly worth it. It’s a more mild flavor than fiocco and quite different. Somewhat surprising to me given that they both came from the leg, just opposite sides. The fiocco has more “funk” and this has more meaty, pork flavor. Not sure if it’s due to the different casing or the additional time. Just like for the fiocco I think a nice pasture raised hog would make a big difference here.