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Croatia’s most celebrated hors d’oeuvre is pršut, home-cured ham served in thin, melt-in-the-mouth slices. Pršut is mainly produced in inland Istria and Dalmatia, where it’s common for families to own a handful of pigs. The unlucky porkers are slaughtered in late autumn, and the hind legs from which pršut is made are laboriously washed, salted and flattened under rocks. They are then hung outside the house to be dried out by the bura, a cold, dry wind that sweeps down to the coast from inland Croatia. After that, the ham is hung indoors to mature, ready to be eaten the following summer. Pršut from Dalmatia is usually smoked at some stage during the maturing period, while that from Istria is left as it is, producing a significant difference in flavour between the two regions’ produce.

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