It’s during the bitter winter months that these families gather in garages across the nation to make salami, as has been done for generations.
While each family has their own unique recipe, many of them are based on the most popular Italian salami varieties.
The Italian word for this cured goodness is salame, originating from the word sale (salt).
The Italian tradition of cured meats includes several varieties, and the word salame specifically refers to a salted and spiced meat, ground and extruded into an elongated, thin casing (usually cleaned animal intestine), then left to undergo natural fermentation for days, months, or even years.
Here is our guide to ten of Italians’ favourite salami types, all of which are a must-try for meat lovers.
This is a typical Italian hunter’s salami – a pocket-sized snack that could be easily transported and was eaten for sustenance during the hunt.
Cacciatore is usually made from pork and cured with traditional spices, wine and herbs.
Its small size ensures that it is quick to cure and can be eaten within two weeks.
Easy to make, this salami variety is ideal for beginners.
This variety is typical of the Marche region, especially in the province of Macerata.
It is also popular in neighbouring Umbria, particularly in Foligno and part of northern Valnerina.
Made from pork meat and fat cut from the shoulder and belly, it’s spiced with black pepper and garlic, and in some rare cases vincotto, which is Italian mulled wine.
The salami is cold-smoked over juniper branches for two days, then hung to cure.
Although it can be aged for a month or more, it is usually eaten after around two weeks.
The result is a very soft, moist specialty which can be spread on bread, in a manner similar to some pâtés.
This salami shares the moniker of the village where it is produced, in Emilia-Romagna’s Baganza valley.
It contains 100 per cent pork and is mildly spiced, seasoned and aged for at least four weeks.
Popular in southern Tuscany, this pork salami is characterised by its use of fennel seeds.
In fact, it is named after its key ingredient, as the Italian word for fennel is finocchio.
Finocchiona originated in the Renaissance, and possibly even before, in the Late Middle Ages.
It is fermented and then dried for at least five months.
This variety originated in the northern province of Genoa, hence its name.
It was believed to have first been made in Orero and then Sant’Olcese nearly two centuries ago, and since then the recipe and processing methods have remained virtually unchanged.
It is normally made from pork, but may also contain veal, and is seasoned with garlic, salt, black and white peppercorns, and red or white wine.
Lardo di Colonnata
Lardo is a type of salami made by curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices.
The most famous lardo is from the Tuscan village of Colonnata, where it has been made since Roman times.
Colonnata is a district of the city of Carrara, which is famous for its marble.
The town is a site where Carrara marble is mined and, traditionally, lardo is cured for months in basins made of this local marble.
The ageing occurs naturally in fresh caves.
It takes a minimum of six months, during which the amount of liquid released by the salt-covered lard is measured regularly.
This salami is similar to the American pepperoni with its small diameter, distinctive red hue and spicy flavour.
However, this variety is only made with lean pork and a lesser amount of fat.
Interestingly, it is not tied to the degree of many other varieties; it is simply folded in half and tied on each end, then dried and aged for no longer than six months.
Milanese comes from the northern Italian city of Milan and is made with a combination of pork and beef, and rice-sized grains of pork fat.
It is bright red in colour and sweeter than Genovese salami, however similar in many ways.
Pronounced, “en-doo-yah”, this is a spreadable salami hailing from the southern region of Calabria.
It is typically made with pork, Calabrian chilli peppers and a mixture of herbs spices.
This fiery salami originates from the southern part of Calabria, namely from the small town of Spilinga.
It is mainly served with slices of bread, with mature cheese or in pasta sauces.
While this salami comes in numerous variations, there two principal types: a cured dry sausage typical of the southern regions of Basilicata, Apulia and Calabria, and a very different uncured salami, made in the central regions of Tuscany and Liguria.
Soppressata is made with natural flavours such as black pepper and chilli peppers.
Depending on the type of product, the ageing process may last from a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 100 days.