The true whey (from the cheese-making process) that Parma pigs enjoy results in an excellent quality of meat. Parma hams are seasoned, salt-cured and air-dried but not smoked. They have a rosy-brown flesh that is firm and dense. The best of these special hams come from the little village of Langhirano, just south of the city of Parma. Parma hams are usually thinly sliced and eaten raw as an appetizer (often with melon) but they can be used in cooking as well. Italians use the rind to flavor soups. See also ham.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.