Did you know that the term for all Italian cured meats is salumi? You’ll see this word everywhere in Italy, but it includes so many different types of meat that it can feel confusing to the uninitiated.
Salumi refers to cold cuts and deli meats. Salumi means ‘salted meat’. Although most is made from pork, you can also find salumi made from deer, horse and wild boar. There are different speciality cured meats from every different region of Italy, varying in seasoning, casing, flavour, fat content and curing methods.
There are 3 categories of salumi – salumi, salami and salsiccia. Salumi is a cured meat made form a whole cut of an animal, like shoulder or thigh. The most well-known example is prosciutto. Salami are air-dried, salted or smoked and left to age – this includes pepperoni. Salsiccia is Italian sausage, which must be ground and cased and either served raw or slightly cooked.
Prosciutto is the most famous of all salumi and comes from the leg of a pig. It is dry-cured and can be served cooked or uncooked. The cooked variety is what we might refer to as ‘ham’.
This is a variety of prosciutto but with a unique flavour. It is sliced thinly and has a strong, smoky flavour. The thigh of a pig is smoked, dry-salted and left to age for around 6 months to give it that distinctive taste.
This is an Italian bacon that comes from pork belly and is cured and seasoned with black pepper. It is not usually eaten on its own but served to add flavour to other dishes. If talk of delicious meats is making your stomach rumble, why not treat yourself to a meal at an Italian Restaurant Dublin like http://www.toscanarestaurant.ie/?
One of the most popular salami comes from Genoa. It is finely ground and you can see the small specks of fat contained within the meat. Salami from Milan is very similar but finer. There are so many different types of salami, almost as many as there are Italian regions.
This is where we get pepperoni from. Did you know that pepperoni in Italy actually refer to sweet peppers, so if you’re in Italy, be careful ordering or you might get a surprise on your pizza! The language mix-up occurred because in Calabria, salami is made with spicy red pepperoncino peppers.
A true Italian sausage must be ground and encased to qualify.
This is a firm favourite and flavoured with fennel seeds and black pepper. It is often included in risotto dishes along with saffron.
This is a big cut of raw sausage which is boiled for a long time and then blended with lentils. It is a rich sausage that’s traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck.