Salami: how to choose high quality salami?

by Redazione Fine Taste

Italy is in first place in the world ranking among the nations that produce the greatest number of salamis.

Salami is produced by grinding selected pork cuts with a part of fat, the mixture is then seasoned with spices in different ways, depending on the type you want to obtain. Once this process is finished, the "salami paste" is stuffed into natural or synthetic casings for the last maturing phase.

This is not the point of underlining that in every area of ​​Italy a different salami is produced both in shape and taste. But how do we orient ourselves to understand if we are buying a quality product? What should we take into consideration? What should we pay attention to?

How to recognize a good salami?

Salami is undoubtedly one of the most popular cured meats in Italy and often appears on our tables on various occasions. A good general rule, to understand if we are buying or tasting a quality salami, is to find that there are not the following defects.

Salami defects

Too soft : the salami is too soft and tends to fall apart. In this case, excessive freshness is an indication of less than optimal maturation;

Too much rigidity : when cut, the salami is very firm, the slice too hard to eat. This is the case in which the cured meat has taken in air, either due to incorrect seasoning or because it has been open for too long;

Not very bright colour : the salami has a dark and opaque appearance, with the fatty part tending towards yellowish. It is also acidic on the palate. In this case, if you can, it's better to avoid eating it: the salami is not fresh!

Advantages of salami

If those just listed are elements to avoid eating a poor quality salami, let's now see what are the points that will allow you not to make mistakes, to purchase a healthy, high quality product of great satisfaction for your palate.

Surely, a salami worthy of its name is not "lean". A high quality salami always has a good percentage of fat compared to the lean part. The fat must be very white and have an excellent scent.

Furthermore, once cut, the slice must have a bright and inviting colour.

It is therefore better to focus on IGP, DOP and Slow Food Presidium products, in general giving priority to artisanal products and with the due guarantee that nitrites and nitrates have not been used in the meat processing phases which, on the one hand, allow the salami for longer, on the other hand they are harmful to our body.

This is a fundamental aspect: industrial cured meats, made to be exported and maintain their characteristics for a long time, make extensive use of these harmful substances!

Salami: an ancient history

We dedicate the last part of our blog to giving you some information on the origin of the name of this product and its diffusion.

The word "salami" derives from the Latin "salumen" and was born in Roman times, becoming "salamen" during the Middle Ages and then definitively becoming "salami" today. As you may have noticed, each of those names contains a reference to salt, which for salami does not just represent an ingredient, but a preservation technique.

An ancient history that runs through all the eating habits of our peninsula: Italy, in fact, is not only the nation where the most numerous varieties of salami in the world are produced, but it is also the place where that type of preparation originated and where it became the art of the table and of craftsmanship.

If you think this article was useful and you want to try a top salami, you can find it here.