Coppa is a very famous cold cut in the Italian gastronomic scenery. Depending on the area of production and on its features, it appears with different names, as capocollo, lonza or lonzino. All of these cold cuts share the fact that they are made from the same part of pork, but each of them has specific features. We talk about Coppa di Parma IGP, a very ancient cold cut, known and appreciate worldwide.
History and curiosities
Emilia Romagna has always been a land with a great gastronomic culture, based especially on breeding and pork’s meat production. Thanks to the climatic and geographic features, in fact, this wonderful region is able to give an excellent quality to meat and cold cuts.
Despite the production of cold cuts from Emilia Romagna dates back to very ancient times, we can find the first evidences only in the Seventeenth Century, when coppa was called “bondiola”, for the fact that it used to be wrapped in pork’s bowels, called “bondeana”.
Coppa di Parma also appears in some documents of the same period, written by travellers, who used to buy this cold cut during their journeys along Po River. In a text of 1723, we can find some evidences about the corporation of “lardaroli”, a group accessible only by people with many cold cuts and “bondiole”.
Production and Regulation
Coppa di Parma has recently obtained the recognition of Protected Geographical Indication, exactly in 2011.
In fact, this cold cut, such as the other typical product of the area around Po River, owes its success to the features of this area. Thanks to the humid climate, warm in summer and cold in winter, cold cuts of these lands can mature slowly and constantly, obtaining a sweet and tasty product.
The production of Coppa di Parma occurs still today following the same, ancient passages, which have been integrated during the years with new technological and hygienic discoveries. For this reason, the finished product is able to embody a perfect meeting point between the ancient and the modern, with its traditional features and the genuineness form an alimentary point of view.
According to the Regulation, pigs used to make Coppa di Parma can come from the same territories of Prosciutto di Parma DOP and Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP – Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Reggio Emilia, Toscana, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise.
Instead, the processing of meat is linked to the climatic and geographical context of the territory, so it must occur only in the area indicated by the Regulation. Despite its name refers to the region of Emilia Romagna, Coppa di Parma is actually produced in the regions Piemonte, Lombardia and also Emilia Romagna.
Once arrived in the factory, meat is cut and trimmed, isolating muscles of the superior cervical part of pig, removing the excessive fat and giving it a cylindrical shape.
At this point they proceed with the salting, covering meat with a mixture of salt, spices and natural aromas, as wine, dextrose, fructose, lactose, nitrites and ascorbic acid. Salting goes on for 6-10 days, during which meat is examined and massaged, allowing the absorption of salt and aromas.
After this period, meat is left to stand in refrigerated rooms for 5 days. So they proceed with the stuffing, inside natural bowels, and hand-tied with cords.
Meat is left to dry, so it passes to the seasoning, for at least 60 days. During this period, Coppa loses slowly the most part of its humidity, strengthening its scent and in particular taste.
Taste and characteristics
Thanks to the precise trimming, Coppa di Parma has a cylindrical shape, well rounded along the entire surface.
One of the methods to recognize the original Coppa di Parma IGP is the facility to separate bowel to meat. The internal color must be dark red, spaced out by slightly large white streaks. Some traces of molds or different colored spots may indicate an unoriginal cold cut.
The mixture of salt and aromas accurately selected, guarantees to Coppa di Parma an inviting scent and a taste so delicate and precious, to make taste an unique moment. We can immediately notice the perfect equilibrium between the aromaticity of spices and the sweetness of meat, but also the extreme softness.
Coppa di Parma IGP, as the other cold cuts of this area, is the only protagonist of traditional and delicious appetizers and starters.
Cut in thin slices, it can accompany some of the most beloved bakery products, as Pane di Altamura or di Matera DOP, rustic and crunchy, some breadsticks, focaccia, pizza or rustic pies and, why not, even a traditional sandwich, filled with what we want more.
Great even with green vegetables, as argula, spinaches and chicory, that can exalt and complete the taste of Coppa di Parma.
Among the cheeses that better marries with this cold cut, we find in particular Gorgonzola DOP and the other veined cheeses, with their intense and particular taste, but also some slices of Toma Piemontese DOP, possibly warmed on a grill for some minutes.
Coppa di Parma is also good with creams and soups with legumes, in particular with beans and some porcini mushrooms.
To accompany Coppa di Parma IGP we can choose a red or white wine, which must not cover or dominate the scent and the sweetness of this cold cut. Among local wines, are particularly adapted Malvasia dei Colli di Parma DOC, a white wine very aromatic and slightly sparkling. Similar is Colli Piacentini Malvasia DOC, while lovers of red wine can choose Colli Piacentini Bonarda DOC, a little bit sweet and aromatic.