Today, zampone is one of the most widely consumed cold cuts among Italian families, especially during the Christmas season where it is one of the undisputed protagonists of dinner on the 31st December and lunch on the 1st January, because in addition to its unquestionable taste it is also a sign of good omen for the new year.
Yet the origins of this appetising cold cut are rather sad and date back to 1511, when Pope Julius II’s troops besieged Mirandola, leaving the people of Mirandola in a state of extreme poverty and hunger. It was Pico della Mirandola’s cook who had the idea of slaughtering the few remaining pigs and stuffing the meat into a membrane made from the skin of their feet.
The aim was to ensure longer preservation and prevent the meat from rotting so that it could be eaten in the months to come.
This is how zampone and its characteristic shape were born. A gastronomic speciality capable, as the famous French writer and essayist Emile Zola said, of bringing joy even to a sad soul.