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About Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

PDO is short for Protected Designation of Origin, a European community system designed to provide legally binding name protection for an elite group of high-quality foods. All cheeses, cured meats and other products awarded PDO certification are made according to traditional methods in a specific geographic region in Europe. The PDO system aids consumers, retailers, chefs, and others in distinguishing between authentic European products and their many imitators.  

How to identify a PDO product:

All Icons of European Taste products have earned the PDO stamp. Because of the greatness of these foods and their popularity – both at home and abroad – imitations have naturally sprung up around the world. Such products bear none of the history, tradition, or quality of the originals. While this may seem inevitable, and consumers are free to buy what they want, it’s important that they know what they are buying and how it is made.

The producers of Prosciutto di San Daniele PDO, Grana Padano PDO and Prosciutto di Parma PDO are the focus of an exciting joint promotional campaign that seeks not only to raise awareness about these unique foods among American and Canadian retailers and consumers, but also to emphasize the importance of quality, authenticity, and tradition. Although these products all happen to be from Italy, they are indicative of the many traditional foods from Europe that are unique to their respective areas, as well as the production methods which have been handed down from generation to generation by proud artisans who are in tune with the land and the seasons.

PDO Recognition for Prosciutto di San Daniele


Where is Prosciutto di San Daniele produced?

Prosciutto di San Daniele is a unique prosciutto that is inextricably bound to the place where it is made.  The distinctive and exclusive San Daniele production area lies in the municipality of San Daniele del Friuli, along the Tagliamento River, which is now the only remaining completely wild river in Europe.  A short distance from Venice, the area’s unique microclimate provides a gentle, salty breeze and naturally controlled humidity — the perfect climate for maturing prosciutto. 

Every slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele is an Italian product of excellence with many centuries of tradition and deep roots in the place where it is produced. Winds that blow from the Carnic Alps to the Adriatic Sea help give Prosciutto di San Daniele its unmistakable aroma and flavor.

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How is Prosciutto di San Daniele produced?

Prosciutto di San Daniele is created by the expert hands of prosciutto makers who, with age-old knowledge and following strict rules, create a masterpiece of taste and delicacy.  It is made only with select pigs born and reared in the 10 Italian regions allowed by the production regulations, who are fed a special diet and pass a compliance check. Even its characteristic guitar shape is exclusive to San Daniele. Each ham is the result of this traditional craft processing that has been handed down across centuries and generations:

  • Selection

  • Salting

  • Pressing

  • Resting

  • Washing

  • Curing

  • Greasing

  • Piercing

  • Branding

Unique traceability:

Prosciutto di San Daniele has a unique digital tracing system, found on each packet of pre-sliced prosciutto. Adopted in 2019, this system allows consumers to have access to a range of certified product information via a QR code directly on their phones.


Maturing of Prosciutto di San Daniele

The aging process of Prosciutto di San Daniele known as maturing takes place once the resting stage is complete. The salted thighs are washed with warm water, this change in temperature kicks off the maturing process. Once dry, each leg enter the curing stage, which must last at least until the 13th month after the start of processing. The specific conditions of temperature and humidity allow the meat to start developing its characteristic aroma and taste.


The ventilation and aeration are completely natural. At the end of the 13th month, the last quality control checks take place, and once passed, the hams are certified and branded, guaranteeing the quality of the product.


Prosciutto di San Daniele is dry cured for a minimum of 400 days


Flavor, Storage & and Care of Prosciutto di San Daniele

Prosciutto di San Daniele is rosy-red color in the lean part and white on the fatty side. Its aroma becomes more persistent with aging, offering the palate hints of bread crust, dried fruit and barley malt. The flavor is also unmistakable: delicacy, flavor and aromas of cured meat blend together, creating a perfect balance that transforms every taste into an experience for all the senses.


Click to learn more about the best ways to slice and store Prosciutto di San Daniele.

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