Giuseppe Viterale only starts making his prosciutto di Parma in the winter, so the cold temperatures can help keep bacteria at bay.
Each ham is rubbed with salt and pepper only and allowed to cure in Viterale’s Upstate New York farmhouse for 10 months.
It’s made the natural way—the way Viterale learned from his mother.
Viterale grew up in Italy, where his father ran a flour mill and farm. At 28, Viterale moved to the U.S.
He and his wife, Ornella, now run Ornella Trattoria Italiana in Astoria, where diners can enjoy traditional Italian fare, including Viterale’s homemade charcuterie.
Compared to New York City, the climate at Viterale’s Sullivan County farmhouse, where he makes all his charcuterie, is less humid, which he said is ideal for curing meat.
“We can make things here that rival Italy,” he said.
Every Monday, Viterale makes the trip from New York City to Woodridge, a village of about 850 people in the heart of the former “Borscht Belt”, to care for his meats.
The first step is the pork, which Viterale primarily gets from a farmer friend in nearby Jeffersonville. The legs are covered in salt for about three weeks before being washed. Salt and pepper are then added and the hams are allowed to dry for a week. After that, they’re moved to the farmhouse’s attic—insulated, windows open—where they cure for 10 months.
Viterale brought some of his prosciutto over to Italy during a trip earlier this year. How did it compare?
“The people loved it,” he said.
In addition to prosciutto, Viterale makes pancetta and cured pork loin, both of which are also sold at the restaurant.
Currently, Viterale only sells his charcuterie at his restaurant, but said he plans to open a retail shop in New York City within the next year or two. He also plans to have his children take over the restaurant, while he focuses on building his upstate operation to include teaching classes on curing meats and cooking Italian food.
He also said he hopes to hire someone to expand his charcuterie offerings to include soppressata, nduja and other sausages. Viterale’s goal, he said, is to “put together enjoyment and business.”
Viterale’s food blends local ingredients with the traditional, family recipes of his Italian upbringing.
“If you have good food, behind it is good culture,” he said. “You don’t have good cuisine without a good culture behind it.”
Please join us at Charcuterie Masters 2017 on February 25th to find out who’s going to be Crowned Grand Champion Royalty in Queens (NY)! For event details & to purchase tickets, please visit here.