A 20-year relationship was rekindled this week when we travelled to Italy to source new products from the Emilia-Romagna region.
Ugo Sancassiani is an acknowledged master of Italian food, with particular expertise in Parma ham. With provenance such a hot topic in the production of fine food and ingredients, he wrote the manual.
“Ugo nurtures pigs on the family business’s farm in Traversetolo, Parma, and then produces the finest range of Parma hams, salamis and prosciutto di Parma that you will ever taste,” said Gabby Bassi, produce buyer at Ponti’s. “Pino Ispani, the second generation in the family to run Ponti’s, first met him in London twenty years ago. We’ve remained firm friends ever since and his passion for food is infectious.”
In a never-ending quest for new ingredients, we were unquestionably taken when sampling two items not yet on the Ponti’s menu; bresaola and culatello. Bresaola is an air-dried, salted beef that is carefully aged for several months, turning almost purple in colour. Served thinly sliced, it is low in fat and Ugo supplies it to a heady list of Italy’s greatest restaurants.
“Culatello is another Parma ham variety, which is best described as the Dom Perignon of its class. It is utterly delicious; aromatic, flavoursome and like all of Ugo’s hams, silky smooth to eat. Seeing these meats being produced with such expertise and love is always a privilege. We are terrifically proud to have his produce in our restaurants.”
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