When we talk about old traditions to describe the art of making Culatello, we don't make a mistake. The reputation that this product has all over the world is quite recent, but the traditional manufacturing and the history of Culatello began many years ago. The story goes that (there have never been more appropriate expression, for the fact that we are talking about tradition) in 1332, during the wedding feast of Andrea Rossi and Giovanna dei Conti Sanvitale, si facessero apprezzare it was offered some Culatello, which was a newlyweds' gift; later, the Pallavicino family gave Culatello as a gift to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan. Unfortunately, the real happening of these events can't be historically demonstrated.
The first official and explicit quotation of Culatello date back to 1735 and can be found in a document of the Municipality of Parma. The first literary quotations date back to the 19th century with the poet Giuseppe Callegari from Parma, then the sculptor Renato Brozzi exchanged opinions about Culatello with the famous poet Gabriele D'annunzio. Culatello has got roots in the historical memory of the peasant culture which still holds on in the farms near the Po valley, where tradition keeps the quality of an incomparable food alive. Certainly, we know that, since the first decades of the past century, only few families could allow themselves the fine flavour of Culatello; in any case, this practice was socially and geographically circumscribed. The fragrance of Culatello was renowned and appreciated only locally. Such a fine product did not nourish a wide market.
The fact that Culatello remained unknown to the public at large assured the uniqueness of the product as it contributed to grow up the legend, surrounding it with some of that fog which never left the people who lives here and that contributes to create a unique product.