The rich diversity of our territory, in terms of cultural treasures and landscapes, can be associated to our gastronomic panorama There’s a wide selection of Italian excellences, scattered everywhere across our beautiful nation.
This time, we will become more familiar with the Italian traditional salumi, a classic type of meat preservation that has been a staple of the Italian diet for more than two thousand years.
In the past, the necessity of saving meat for long periods of time contributed to the established practice of salting, smoking and air drying.
There are countless variations developed and perfected through the ages; although most of salumi can be divided into two categories: one type is produced from a whole cut of meat, usually a shoulder or a thigh and the other one consists of a casing filled with ground or chopped meat, fat, herbs and spices.
Prosciutto is probably the star of the cured meat world and it can have different areas of production that give it its specific name and PDO appellation, such as Prosciutto di Parma PDO, Prosciutto di Modena PDO, Prosciutto San Daniele PDO or Prosciutto Toscano PDO from Tuscany.
Other incredible products are Speck Alto Adige PGI from Trentino-Alto Adige region, distinctive for its smoky flavor; guanciale from Lazio – plus others such as pancetta and culatello. All delicious and different in flavours, usually sliced finely and often representing the key ingredient of delicious bruschettas and typical Italian tagliere antipasti.
Mortadella Bologna PDO is renowned globally for its unique perfume and its irresistible smooth taste.
Then there is salame and it is divided into uncooked and cooked typologies. All salumi varieties range from the northern mildly delicate flavors to the stronger, more peppery southern specialties. Some are spreadable, others are firm and perfect for slicing thin. Most are eaten without further preparation other than slicing, while others require some cooking. Pork is by far the meat of choice for this type of preservation. Salamini alla cacciatora and Finocchiona seasoned with wild fennel from Tuscany, together with soppressata from Molise are just some of the delicious products available on the market and belonging to this incredibly wide category.
Click here to discover more on how to recognize the authentic Italian salumi.
All of the Italian salumi reign on our tables, representing part of the Italian conviviality and being a classic food to share with friends and family.
Photo credit: © Reneè Kemps