Black Forest Ham
Black Forest ham is a raw, cured, boneless ham with a distinctive aroma created from gentle smoking over fir and spruce wood. An added characteristic feature is the very fine fatty rind. This is important for two reasons: on one hand, the fat is flavour-carrying and on the other, the thin rind protects the Black Forest ham from drying out too fast.
The EU has extended protection for the traditional Black Forest ham-making process
Black Forest ham is made in the Black Forest region. Otherwise, it would not have this name. Nowhere may it be produced other than in the Black Forest. This is certified and protected by the European Union as formally expressed by the PGI (in Germany, g.g.A.) label, which stands for protected geographical indication.
This means, that the EU protects the traditional production process: curing, spicing, burning, smoking and maturing. All of this is performed in the Black Forest.
The EU also sets rules about where the pigs are raised. These apply regardless of national borders and local availability of the proper kind of livestock farming and certified production facilities. Eighty percent of the pork hind legs are from Germany, mainly from the north, home to traditional pig farming. The Black Forest is a low mountain range, the most frequently visited of any in Germany; hence it lacks space for large-scale pig farming. That is obvious to anyone who has ever been there. The remaining 20 percent of the pork is sourced from neighbouring countries.