How it’s made: the processing and maturing of Capocollo
To produce Capocollo, the neck muscle is trimmed and degreased. At this point they proceed with the salting, which takes place vigorously massaging the product, so that the salt, peppercorns, garlic and other spices can deeply penetrate the meat, giving it the desired taste and consistency. This is a very long and delicate phase. Depending on the size of the pig and the level of maturation, it will be necessary to extend the operation to bring the aromas to the center of the cup.
The freshly salted Capocollo are then left to rest in the special salting tanks inside the cold room. Here the ripening is slow and controlled and proceeds for about six weeks. At the end of this period the cups are removed from the brine, wrapped in a natural casing and tied tightly, it is here that the meat begins to take on its characteristic appearance. But Capocollo is not ready yet, it needs a short period of hot drying before proceeding with the actual seasoning. This phase, which lasts from four to six months, takes place inside well-ventilated rooms, where the cured meats are hung and checked one by one. It is in fact in the last weeks that the cups acquire their full organoleptic quality.
Capocollo, at the end of maturation, is slightly rounded at the ends, in its cylindrical shape. The consistency is firm, but it doesn’t have to be too hard or dry.
When cut, in addition to releasing its typical scent, it shows a compact mass, with a distinct separation between fat and lean parts. Along with the taste in the mouth and nose, colour is another parameter through which to distinguish an excellent artisan cured meat from an industrial product. The colour of the aged Capocollo is red, interspersed with white parts, which can tend towards pink.