Only 31 ham factories ('prosciuttifici') based in the municipality of San Daniele, in the province of Udine, are allowed to produce ham with the San Daniele denomination. These are quite few if we consider that for Prosciutto di Parma the number mounts up to 250.
San Daniele is a hill town situated in the centre of the northern Italian region of Friuli. This area has a very particular microclimate. In the area of San Daniele, the fresh and dry alpine currents and the warm and humid currents from the Adriatic Sea meet and create a geographically unique climate and air circulation which is ideal for seasoning and gives Prosciutto San Daniele its specific taste.
San Daniele ham is made exclusively using the meat of italian pigs belonging to the Large White or Landrance breeds. Their diet has to follow precise rules and they must be grown in only ten regions of Northern Italy. The fresh legs must quickly reach San Daniele del Friuli, to be processed with the use of sea salt, without additives or preservatives. There, curing must last at least 13 months.
For all the above mentioned reasons, Prosciutto San Daniele was recognized as a DOP ham by the European Union in 1996, even if it its exceptional quality has been acknowoledged since the 1970s.