30 September 2010
Posted in FOOD AND WINE
Italy is, of course, famous for its culinary delights and one of the foods this beautiful country is best known for is its incredible selection of cured meats and salamis.
There is no better place than Italy then, to enjoy cold meats served with a hunk of strong cheese, some crusty bread, and some good red wine.
Probably the most famous of the Italian cold meat types, made with ground meat and spices such as chilli, garlic, fennel seeds and wine, there are a number of varieties from mild, fine grained varieties, spicy Sardinian salami, and large grained Venetian salami.
This is the category of cured meats to which the famous Parma ham belongs, and it the meats in this category are highly prized and generally served thinly sliced. It is cured raw, hence the name “crudo”, meaning raw, and has a salty sweet flavour and a distinct meaty aroma.
A long, flat salami from the Alto Adige region, it is made from pigs legs and is smoked for approximately 10 days using wood smoke from a mixture of juniper, ash and beech wood. It has a very smoky taste and is a deep pink or red in colour.
One of the most diet friendly varieties of Italian cured meats, bresaola is made from cuts of beef which are dry cured for at least a fortnight with salt, pepper, bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic and cloves. Bresaola is bright red in colour and has a delicately smokey taste.
Pancetta, often referred to as Italian bacon, is made from the pork belly and usually has a good streaking of fat, just like bacon does. Pancetta is made all over Italy and comes in skinless, rolled and smoked varieties as well as classical. From Rome heading South you can find varieties flavoured with garlic and fennel.
Hailing from Bologna, this product is made from age old techniques giving it a distinctive odour, a uniform pink colour and a smooth texture, as well as a delicious flavour. The cubes of white fat found in all varieties and the sliced green olives in many add to its flavour and charm.
In cooking, as a starter, in a sandwich or as a snack, these meats are as versatile as they are tasty... and there is no better place to sample these than in Italy!