Region you go, salami you find – Italian Cuisine

Region you go, salami you find


From the Alps to the Mediterranean, there is (almost) no area in Italy that does not have its typical salami, often known only locally, and usually made with centuries-old recipes (and each producer jealously preserves its own). Typically, those characteristic of northern Italy are sweet and flavored only with pepper and garlic (or they are not at all) while those typical of the south are much tastier and more aromatic, because other ingredients are often used, from chilli to fennel seeds.

This rich tradition is also recognized internationally, where "made in Italy" salamis are considered an excellence. This is also why we are the country with the most EU-protected salamis: we have 12 pork salamis between DOP and IGP. And they are only a small part of all those produced in Italy, always using only the few and "usual" ingredients: meat and fat, usually pork (although there are also salamis made with other meats, such as goose or donkey). So how do you get salami so different in aroma, flavor, texture and size, from the cacciatorini snack to the XL 5 kg salami?

What differentiates the various types of salami

To make the difference between the many different types of salami that are produced in Italy are several factors: the quality of the starting meat, the cuts of meat and fats used and the ratio between them, the type of grinding (fine, medium or coarse) and the amount of salt added. The drying technology and the duration of the curing also have a great influence on the final quality.

The finest meat is that of heavy pork, which is typical of Italy and is the most used in delicatessen. What makes it unique is the fact that it is raised for a long time (at least 8-9 months) until it reaches 160 kg of average weight and its meat is firm. Thus, there is no need to add to cured meats with milk powder and derivatives (if present, they are indicated in the list of ingredients), to make them more compact and to absorb water, in order to accelerate their curing and increase their weight.

This heavy pig uses different cuts of lean and fat meats: each type of salami has its own "recipe". For example, for those with a fine grind and where the lean and fat parts remain well divided (such as the Milano salami), lean cuts (such as the shoulder) and resistant fats (such as the throat) are used. On the other hand, for softer salamis (such as Felino) semi-fat cuts are needed (such as lean pancetta) and for those (such as Fabriano) where the fat is diced, lard is used.

Do you know all six Italian PDO salamis?

To obtain the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) salami, like all other food products, must demonstrate that their quality and characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to the area where they are born, and to its intrinsic natural and human factors. For this reason, both the characterizing raw materials and the entire production must take place in this defined geographical area. There are six Italian PDO pork salamis and they are produced in different regions, from Lombardy to Calabria.

  1. Salame Brianza Dop: produced in four Lombard provinces and in various formats, both fine and coarse, it is characterized by its ruby ​​red color, consistent thickness and delicate taste, which is never acidic. It is tastier when cut into thick slices
  2. Varzi salami Dop: it is produced in the Oltrepò Pavese with a mixture of fat and lean pork, in a ratio of 30%, coarsely chopped and seasoned with sea salt, pepper, spices and an infusion of garlic in filtered red wine. Tradition has it that the slices are cut "like a clarinet beak", so that they take the characteristic non-round shape and have the right thickness.
  3. Salame Piacentino Dop: already known in 1400, it is produced in the province of Piacenza with lean meat and 10-30% fat parts (such as lard and pancetta). Dry-cured with salt, pepper, garlic, wine and sugar, it has a strong aroma and a bright red color. Excellent as an appetizer and with an aperitif, it should be cut diagonally when cold so that the slices remain compact. But it should be consumed when it has reached 10 ° C and thus releases all its aromas.
  4. Vicentine Soprèssa Dop: sausage with a long tradition, made with pork, minced at medium high and enriched with the traditional consa, a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and, sometimes, garlic. It has slices of a pinkish color tending to red, with an intense aroma and a slightly spicy flavor. Ideal to be enjoyed with cooked vegetables, coarsely cut and seared on the grill, it accompanies Asiago cheese and toasted polenta.
  5. Soppressata di Calabria PDO: has origins in Magna Graecia, this tasty salami made with a mixture of meat obtained from ham and fillet (or shoulder) and fat taken from the lard of the front part of the loin. It can be "natural" (ie white) or sweet, if flavored with sweet red pepper or sweet pepper cream. Or spicy if spicy red pepper or spicy pepper cream have been added to the mixture.
  6. Italian salami alla cacciatora Dop: sold under the “Cacciatore italiano Dop” brand, they are small (weigh 200-350 grams), dry and compact, and have a sweet taste and delicate aroma. Perfect as a snack and with an aperitif, thinly sliced, in strips or diced, they enrich salads, such as the one with apple and pomegranate, or the one with lentils, tomato and olives, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Do you know all six Italian IGP salamis?

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) food products owe their specificity and reputation to a place (for example a country or a region); for this at least one of its stages of their production must take place in this geographical area.

  1. Piedmont salami IGP: with compact slices and a delicately spicy flavor, flavored with herbs, spices and Piedmontese wine, it is produced throughout the region. The consistency of the dough is soft and the flavor is sweet, thanks to the short aging and the aromatic note conferred by the use of red wine.
  2. Cremona salami Igp: made only with pork from the areas of San Daniele and Parma ham, flavored with salt and crushed garlic. Always soft and mellow, even after 4 months of aging, it has a distinct garlicky note. Due to its texture it is perfect with fruit with the same pasty consistency, such as figs or pears, but also with brioche.
  3. Salame Felino Igp: it is produced in the province of Parma, this salami with an irregular shape and a compact and not very elastic consistency. Obtained with fresh first choice minced medium-grain meats, flavored with salt, black peppercorns and garlic, it has a delicate taste and a spicy aroma.It is the classic salami as an appetizer or to be served with fried dumplings or focaccia.
  4. Finocchiona IGP: documented as early as the Middle Ages, it is obtained in Tuscany from various pork cuts (in particular shoulder, ham trimmings, throat, pancetta and pancettona) ground to medium grain and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic, fennel seeds or flowers. It has an intense aroma, a strong and appetizing flavor, and a soft texture. It is ideal with unsalted bread, because it allows you to fully appreciate the aroma of fennel, but it is also excellent with focaccia and savory flatbreads.
  5. Ciauscolo Igp: it is a soft and aromatic, fine-grained salami, typical of the Marche region, obtained from the double grinding of fine pork cuts (bacon, shoulder and trimmings of ham and loin), flavored with salt, black pepper, wine and garlic. It is generally eaten fresh (from 20 to 60 days from preparation) its soft consistency allows it to be spread on croutons, slices of bread and bruschetta.
  6. Salame Sant’Angelo Igp: this typical product of Messina is made with fine pork cuts (thigh, shoulder, fillet, loin, coppa and pancettone) and little fat (less than 20%), mixed with sea salt and black pepper. Coarse-grained, it has a tender but compact slice, a slightly spicy aroma and a dry flavor. It is cut into thick slices and served with olives, pickles and pecorino cheese.

January 2022
Manuela Soressi

This recipe has already been read 194 times!

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