Salami - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Salami is a type of Italian cured sausage, generally dry and hard compared to other types of sausage. Italian Salami is made from ground meat mixed with seasonings and stuffed into a casing, then dry cured until a desired hardness is achieved. The word salami is derived from the singular Italian word "salame", which refers to all types of salted meat. It is believed that Salami has been made for at least 2,000 years, dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Prior to the creation of refrigeration, curing meat was one of the primary means of food preservation, a process which continues to make Salami a popular food today.

Salami Preparation
Various preparation techniques and recipes contribute to the vast varieties of Salami. Salami is traditionally made with pork meat, but some varieties may be made with beef, venison, poultry or other meats. The meat is blended with fat and then mixed with herbs and seasonings, such as salt, garlic or vinegar. The meat mixture may also have a small amount of preservatives included to provide color and to prevent bacterial growth. These mixtures are then packed into natural or synthetic casings and then hung to dry and cure in a cool, dark dry environment.

While Italy is well known for its many varieties of Salami, Salami is made in countries throughout the world. Many salamis are named after their ingredients or after the country or region in which they are made:

Types of Italian Salami

Genoa Salami
Genoa Salami is a hard, dry cured meat from the Genoa region of Italy that is typically made of pork, salt, garlic, pepper, fennel seeds, and wine.

Finocchiona Salami
Finocchiona Salami is a spicy Tuscan specialty that is dry cured and made with fennel seeds and black pepper.

Milanese Salami
Milanese Salami, also known as Milano Salami, is made with a combination of pork and beef, and rice-sized grains of pork fat and is bright red in color and sweeter than Genoa salami.

Pepperoni
A popular American pizza topping, Pepperoni is an Italian American variety of salami, seasoned with peppers and spices.

Salami Cotto
Salami Cotto, a specialty of the Piedmont region of Italy, is a variety of Salami that is cooked before or after curing and is seasoned with garlic and peppercorns.

Soppressata
Soppressata, one of the most well known types of Italian Salami, is a dry cured, pressed pork Salami. The ingredients, flavor, and texture of Soppressata varies based on the region in which it is made, with flavors that range from sweet to savory, enhanced by seasonings of garlic, peppers, fennel, oregano or basil.

Types of Non-Italian Salami

French Salami
Saucisson Sec is the what the French call their Salami. Saucisson Sec is a thick dry cured sausage from France that is made of pork, or pork blended with other meats. Saucisson sec may also be made with additional ingredients such as dried fruits, wine or cheese to create a distinctive flavor and aroma.

German Salami
German Salami is traditionally made with a mixture of pork and beef and seasoned with garlic and spices, and is typically higher in fat than other salamis.

Hungarian Salami
Hungarian Salami is made from pork meat and fatty pork bellies. The Pick Company from Szeged was founded in 1869 and makes the most well known variety of winter salami, known for developing a harmless white-gray mold which helps preserve the salami.

Spanish Salami
Spanish Salami, called salchichon, is a spicy salami made with finely ground pork and beef, and seasoned with peppercorns.

Although it comes down to preference, we prefer our hard, dry cured Salami when cut thick. Soppressata pairs particularly well with fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella. Hard Salami, especially those made in central European countries like Germany and Switzerland, can be smoked. Hard Salami pairs well with hard cheeses such as Pecorino cheese and fruits such as apples or pomegranate. Salami is excellent as an appetizer or in sandwiches, and adds a savory flavor to tomato sauces, pizza, pasta, or calzones. Salami is also ideal for traveling, hiking or camping as it is easily portable and shelf stable.

Salami Terminology
Salumi refers to all Italian meats that are cooked, preserved or cured. Salumi, while often made with pork, may also be made with other meats, such as beef. The word Salami is the plural form of the word Salame. Salame is a specific type of Salumi, while meats such as Prosciutto, Bresaola, and Pancetta are also Salumi. Basically, all Salami are Salumi, but not all Salumi are Salami!

We offer the widest selection of gourmet Salamis like authentic imported Italian Hard Dry Salame, Sopressata, French Saucisson Sec, Traditional Genoa and Milano varieties, and much more. To find the best gourmet foods and gift baskets online, begin your search at igourmet.com.