Natural conditions in Istria
The Istrian prosciutto-ham is produced mostly in the inland of the Istrian peninsula where climate conditions enable dry-salting of meat and prosciutto-ham production only during winter. Broader Pazin area is the best indicator of climate conditions characteristic for the central part of Istria. According to the figures published by the National Weather Service, medium temperatures and relative humidity levels common from December to March favour the optimal natural drying of meat.
Lower morning temperatures (3 - 4 degrees Celsius) and gradual decrease of relative humidity level (65 - 70 %), enable regular drying and ripening process of the prosciutto-ham. By the arrival of spring and consequently, warmer days, prosciutto-hams are transferred to ripen in the cellars with optimal air temperature being l3 - l5 degrees Celsius and stable humidity level of 65 - 70 %. The Istrian climate is distinguished by its winds that enable faster drying of the prosciutto-ham. According to the National Weather Service, in the period from 1989 to1998, only 11% of the year in the central part of Istria was wind-free. The central part of Istria is characteristic for its east and southeast winds, as well as south winds.
North and northeast winds, as well as the east wind blowing from Mount Učka have been the most responsible for the appropriate drying and ripening of the prosciutto-ham under natural conditions. Natural conditions in Istria provide an ideal environment for the production of the Istrian prosciutto-ham in the traditional way because, owing to the influence of the Mediterranean climate, extremely low temperatures are uncommon here and the area is frequently refreshed by winds.