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cantaloupe wedges draped and wrapped with beautifully soft and luscious paper-thin sheets of prosciutto di parma on a marble round platter in the sunlight with a view of Italy in the background

Prosciutto e Melone (Italian Ham + Cantaloupe)

If you love sweet ripe melons and Prosciutto di Parma in all its soft, buttery, salty porky goodness, this is the quickest and easiest 2-ingredient dish to make right now! No cooking required, just a few quick slices and scoops and it’s ready in 5 minutes! We love prosciutto-wrapped anything around here, but especially melons this time of year when they’re at peak ripe sweetness. There’s something about sweet and salty that’s always gonna work and it definitely does here.  Cantaloupe is queen right now and just so happens to be the perfect sweet contrast to delicious all-natural sea-salted Prosciutto from Parma.  One bite of this is really as good as melons, prosciutto, and summer can get.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Slice, scoop, wrap, eat, repeat! This is a premium 2-ingredient appetizer, side dish, or great for an aperitivo spread and it’s just about no work at all.  This prosciutto will put a smile on your face it’s so good! It’s soft, buttery, salty (but not too salty) and it’s perfectly porky. This is one of our summer favorite “non-recipe” recipes. We’ve even been known to open a bottle of bubbly when we know we’re going to eat it.  There’s something about enjoying it all together that just doesn’t get much better this time of year!​

Love at first bite?

The first time I ate “prosciutto e melone” or prosciutto-wrapped melon, was when I was working at a restaurant that had a focus on a few very authentic Italian dishes and mostly “New American” cuisine.  We were always getting imports of high-quality Italian ingredients. It’s the first time I tried this Italian appetizer. It was delicious, but it was different. And at the time I’d be lying if I told you that I wouldn’t have preferred both the melon and Prosciutto di Parma to be eaten separately.  Because I did. What can I say? But times have changed! This is at the top of my list for summer appetizers and we’ve even been known to make lunch out of it.

Can I use a different type of melon other than cantaloupe to make Prosciutto e Melon?

I’m a big fan of summer melons of all kinds (like this bright yellow canary melon below), but we only use one of two melons for this recipe — the regular orange sweet cantaloupe or the highly prized Italian “Liscio” melon. Both of these sweet cantaloupes provide the perfect texture, flavor, and sweetness to balance salty prosciutto. Plus, it’s important (especially in a 2-ingredient dish) to make sure all the ingredients work. The Italian Liscio melon (that’s white and smooth on the outside and orange on the inside) is in a whole other ballpark altogether. It’s the most floral and fragrant type of cantaloupe I’ve ever eaten even giving off some slightly exotic fruity notes.  It’s sweet and perfectly soft, yet firm.

Prosciutto + Cantaloupe Melon tips + tricks + FAQ’s

  • Who invented prosciutto e melon or prosciutto wrapped melon?  We can thank mister Pellegrino Artusi, “the father of modern Italian cuisine” for this dish. He’d added it to his seminal cookbook in the 1890s, after which it later seemingly disappeared and showed back up by popular demand in the 1960s and has been a staple in the Italian cuisine ever since. 
  • What is prosciutto? Is prosciutto pork? Yes, prosciutto is pork! Prosciutto which translates to “ham” in Italian, is made only using the hind legs of the pig and it’s aged using a dry-curing method. There are typically two types of prosciutto: prosciutto cotto (which is cooked ham) and prosciutto Crudo which is uncooked but cured.  “Crudo” means “raw” in Italian, so prosciutto Crudo means “raw prosciutto” or “raw cured ham”. “Cotto” means cooked in Italian, so prosciutto cotto means “cooked ham”. 
  • Is prosciutto raw?  Yes, prosciutto Crudo is raw, but it’s cured using a dry-curing method and salt. However, prosciutto cotto is cooked ham.
  • Where does prosciutto come from? Prosciutto comes from Italy.  Making and curing prosciutto originated in Italy thousands of years ago. And the different regional varieties are produced under strict quality control.  For instance, Prosciutto di Parma can only be produced in Parma, Italy,  and is made using specialty-bred pigs, sea salt, time, and the air. And it’s absolutely delicious, buttery, soft, salty goodness.
  • What makes Prosciutto di Parma different than other prosciutti?  Prosciutto di Parma is a 100% natural cured ham without any additives, preservatives, hormones, gluten, or coloring agents, made in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (the same place as Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese). And all the salting of the hams is done by hand by, yep you guessed it, a “maestro salatore”, or salt master!  This is also why Prosciutto di Parma isn’t as salty as some commercially treated prosciutti.
  • How do you pronounce prosciutto?  You pronounce “prosciutto” like “pro-shoe-toe”. The “sc” in “prosciutto” sounds like “sh” in the English language.
  • What ingredients are in prosciutto e melon or prosciutto and melon?  Prosciutto di Parma and cantaloupe. The melon can be carved out using a melon baller or it can simply be sliced and then wrapped in paper-thin slices of delicious and salty prosciutto crudo.
  • When do you eat Prosciutto and melon You can eat prosciutto and melon as an appetizer, or a side to a light lunch or dinner. You can also eat it at brunch or breakfast or for aperitvo.
  • Do you have to cook prosciutto?  No, you don’t have to cook prosciutto.  In fact, it’s meant to be eaten in its naturally dry-cured state, sliced paper-thin so that it’s buttery soft, and delicious. But it’s also great pan-fried in a hot skillet! I love to cook prosciutto and use it as a substitute for bacon on burgers, for bacon and eggs, or a side to french toast, or on a BLT. 
  • Where do melons come from? There is some mystery behind precisely where melons originated, but it’s widely believed they originated in either West Africa or Southwest or Central Asia.  Throughout history, melons have been considered a symbol of fertility, because of the high number of seeds contained in each one.  Melons arrived in Italy during the first century AC.
  • How many calories are in 1 cup of cantaloupe? There are 60 calories in one cup of cantaloupe.
  • Is cantaloupe healthy? Yes, cantaloupe is full of nutrients and packed with vitamin A (in beta-carotene form), vitamin C, and potassium.  It’s low in calories, contains 90% water, and is naturally sweet. It’s especially good to eat in the summer peak season when you’re craving dessert, but want to opt for something healthy.
  • How to know when a cantaloupe is ripe?  You can tell when a traditional cantaloupe is ripe when the color beige, creamy yellow, or has tan golden skin. If it’s green, this means cantaloupe is not ripe! A traditional cantaloupe will also have a bumpy, raised texture on the rind with a little webbing. And if the melon has some discoloration on one side or another, don’t worry, this is typically the side the melon naturally rested on while growing in the garden or in the field. Here are 5 easy ways to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe:
    • Heavy.  The cantaloupe should feel heavy for its size.
    • The stem. The stem should not be attached and if it is, this indicates it was picked too early. Look for a slightly concave indention where the stem used to be.
    • Fragrant. Ripe cantaloupes are fragrant and you can smell them when they are perfectly ready to eat.
    • Firmness. Ripe cantaloupes should be firm with a slight give, like a ripe pineapple, but should not be so firm it feels like a watermelon. If it’s too soft, it’s probably too old.
    • The color. The color or a typical cantaloupe (not the white-skinned flesh of some of the Italian varieties), should be tan, or yellow, and beige with a soft coral orange-colored flesh.
  • How do you ripen an underripe cantaloupe that’s been picked? You can’t ripen a cantaloupe after it’s been picked.  It’s not like a banana, mango, or avocado that ripens further when placed in a paper bag. But you can place it in the paper bag to help it soften, just don’t expect the flavor to change!

Let’s get started!

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cantaloupe wedges draped and wrapped with beautifully soft and luscious paper-thin sheets of prosciutto di parma on a marble round platter in the sunlight with a view of Italy in the background

Prosciutto + Melon (Prosciutto e Melone)

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  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings depending on the hunger level 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


If you’ve never had soft, buttery perfectly salted Prosciutto di Parma wrapped around sweet ripe cantaloupe, now’s your chance!  This is a premium 2-ingredient recipe to make as long as melons are in season! Sweet and salty, fruity and porky — It’s heaven on a plate!


  • 1 cantaloupe, ripe and sweet
  • 710 slices Prosciutto di Parma, sliced paper-thin


  1. Slice the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds in the middle and discard or add to compost and slice the melon into wedges, or scoop out bite-sized balls with a melon baller.
  2. Wrap each wedge or ball with paper-thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, place on a serving platter and Enjoy!


  • Prosciutto di Parma is the only prosciutto to use for this dish, but you could probably also use San Daniele as well with good results. Let us know if you try it out!
  • Find a sweet, perfectly ripe cantaloupe and place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so that it’s nice and cold when you start.  It’ll warm up a bit as you are preparing the dish which will allow all the flavors to be enjoyed and tasted.
  • This dish is best when prepared just before consuming especially if the melon is very ripe and full of juice.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Nibbles + Bits
  • Method: Slice + Wrap
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 2-3 slices
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Prosciutto + Melon (Prosciutto di Parma e Melone) recipe step-by-step instructions + photos

Courtesy of: ParmaCrown.com

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