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Technical question: Why is ham sliced so thick in France?

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Technical question: Why is ham sliced so thick in France?

greatgatsby | Oct 13, 2011 09:42 AM

It would be great if you can help me out with this one: We have recently moved to France from Italy. One of the arguably greatest assets of the Italian kitchen is its raw prosciutto and associated products (lardo, bresaola, etc etc).

If you buy raw ham in Italy, does not matter whether in a supermarket or a top butcher, slices will be typically VERY thin, equivalent to the second-lowest setting of commercial slicing machines (people typically order "number 2" or "number 1" slices, with number 1 being the thinnest technically possible setting. You may disagree, but I tend to think that the thinner the slice the better the aroma of a high quality dried cut of meat becomes. Most Italians probably would agree with this.

Now, in France we have found so far that ham (raw and cooked) is cut very, very thick. At least by Italian standards. So I have two questions:

1) Do the French really like their ham cut thick and if so why - or am I going to the wrong shops?
2) Is there a polite or smooth way in French to ask the butcher for truly superfine slices?

Thank you! Your help is much appreciated!

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