Christophe Wicht, of Prez-vers-Siviriez, demonstrates the very special way that jambon de la borne, or local smoked ham, is made.
First the ham is dry-salted. It is left to rest for 6 weeks with a mixture of salt and spices. "It is important that the salting is done dry, in order to retain the firm, typical shape of the meat", explains the master butcher.
It then goes to the cleaning area: Here, the ham is scrubbed by hand, in order to remove all the salt deposits. Next to this area is the ripening room. It is here that the ham will "mature" for one week.
Then comes the famous curing stage. For 3 weeks without interruption, logs of beech and fir are burned. Thick smoke rises to a room on the next floor, "la borne", where the hams are hanging.
Once the ham is salted, cleaned, ripened and finally smoked, it is sent to the warehouse, where it stays for a few more days. In all, more than ten weeks are necessary to produce this ham with the special taste.
In common with many Bénichon (Autumn festival celebrated in FRIBOURG REGION) products, jambon de la borne is eaten throughout the year. Here is some advice from the expert: "try it with a good cabbage soup, it makes an ideal and excellent starter".