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Formaggio Kitchen Blog

Tim’s Travel to Cibus: A Tour of Prosciutto Supplier Pio Tosini

First of all, what is Cibus?

Pronounced ‘chee-buhs,’ this international food show exhibition held in Italy is a key event on Formaggio Kitchen’s calendar. Typically, the full scale Cibus fair takes place every other year and can fill up to eight warehouses with producers from a variety of food industries. These include everything from meats to dairy to dry goods. This year, they hosted a smaller form of Cibus, filling only one warehouse, but that didn’t deter us from a trip out to Parma, Italy. The Italian government and fair organizers invite buyers from all over the world to attend these shows, intending to develop business with Italian suppliers. Every year, we take advantage of this invitation to keep our relationships with Italian producers alive.

The show took place in the region of Emilia-Romagna, where three of the greatest Italian foods originate: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Balsamico Tradizionale (Modena and Reggio-Emilia). On this trip, I coordinated with the Rogers Collection in Portland, Maine to visit Prosciuttificio Pio Tosini and Parmigiano-Reggiano producer Valserena.

You Say Prosciutto, I Say Prosciutto

There is an extensive history of preserving food with oil and salt, so the specific origin of cured pork legs is difficult to nail down. Various specific styles of curing have made their way into the food culture of Italy. Commonly known as Prosciutto, the cured hind leg of the pig is technically Prosciutto crudo – as opposed to the cooked deli ham, prosciutto cotto.

The best known of the cured pork leg is Prosciutto di Parma DOP, followed by Prosciutto San Daniele DOP and then Prosciutto di Modena DOP, Prosciutto Toscano DOP, Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo DOP and Prosciutto di Carpegna DOP. There are also IGP designations for Prosciutto di Norcia, Prosciutto di Sauris and Crudo di Cuneo. While I was in Parma, I was told various stories about the origins of this famed meat including that it all started in Norcia (told to me by a Norcian).

Visiting Prosciuttificio Pio Tosini

Pio Tosini Prosciutto has been an important part of our deli offering for more than a decade. The production methods, their down to earth personality as well as their focus on tradition and exceptional quality has helped build a strong allegiance amongst our mongers and our customers. Mary Murphy (former monger) wrote a previous post about Pio Tosini, which you can read here. I don’t have too much to add with the exception of the confirming both their continued focus on quality and the generous hospitality of the owner, Giovanni.

Prosciutto Pio Tosini

The offices of Pio Tosini.


Hand-trimming Prosciutto di Parma

Young legs of Prosciutto di Parma being hand-trimmed before aging


aging prosciutto di parma at Pio Tosini

The main aging hall of Pio Tosini in Langhirano


Giovanni Bianchi of Pio Tosini

Giovanni Bianchi of Pio Tosini


Applying the lard to Prosciutto di Parma

Employees rubbing lard and rice flour mixture over the exposed face of each leg


Open air ventilation for curing the hams

In this aging hall, they open and close windows (all or some) to allow the winds off of the Apennines to pass through the room and gently dry the hams.


Rogers Collection Selection

This was a selection of hams reserved for the Rogers Collection.

Lamplighter Brewing Co. and Formaggio Kitchen Team Up For Summer Beer Garden

When we hear the word “summer” at Formaggio Kitchen, the first thing that comes to our mind is barbecue. And not just any barbecue, but the one we have every Saturday right outside our shop that we wait all winter long for. Slow cooking for days beforehand, the aromas of the BBQ pit build throughout Continue Reading »

Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice; the rice that made me care about rice

My husband and I recently traveled down to Charleston, South Carolina and I was so excited to sample as much Southern food as I could possibly handle. A highlight of our trip was a dinner at FIG where their Southern techniques and local ingredients really appealed to me. While perusing the menu, I noticed a Continue Reading »

Cambridge Community Center Fundraiser: Formaggio Kitchen Gives Back

Since 1929, the Cambridge Community Center has been an important part to the vibrant city that is home to both Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge and its owners Ihsan and Valerie. This nonprofit organization offers social, educational, and recreational programs for people of all ages, enriching the neighborhood through programs that empower, educate, and engage. After 88 years Continue Reading »

Housemade Pimento Cheese: Eat Well, Do Good

Eat Well, Do Good When Formaggio Kitchen South End owner Valerie Gurdal came up with the idea of dedicating sales of a single, popular product to Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, our pimento cheese, a comfort food and a family recipe, seemed like the perfect fit. Valerie grew up in the South, Continue Reading »

Torrons Fèlix: Traditional Spanish Turrón

The Story The exact history of torrón or nougat (“torró” in Catalan) making in Agramunt, located about an hour and a half drive northwest of Barcelona, Spain, is unclear due to lost or destroyed records over the years and through various wars. The earliest known documents reference torró d’Agramunt production as early as 1741, but the history of Continue Reading »