Sopressata - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Sopressata is an Italian dry cured pork salami. Pork has been preserved since ancient times when the Greeks colonized areas of Southern Italy, particularly the Calabria region. Romans wrote of "minced meat, preserved in pork guts", and of using salt and pepper to aid in preservation. Residents of southern Italy are believed to have taught Roman soldiers how to prepare this preserved form of pork.

Sopressata is usually made from pork, but may also be made with beef. Unlike traditional salami, Sopressata is a much coarser grind, often mixed with red pepper flakes. Like salami, they are salted, then air dried to preserve them. They are hung to dry between three and twelve weeks, during which time they lose nearly 30% of their weight. Sopressata is typically pressed with a weight during the drying process which gives it its distinct flattened shape.

Flavors in Sopressata vary, as some are sweet, while others are salty or spicy. In addition to red pepper flakes, Sopressata may be seasoned with such spices as garlic, fennel, oregano and basil, which creates a flavor reminiscent of pepperoni. In fact, in recent years Sopressata has become a popular alternative to pepperoni as a pizza topping in the US.

There are many regional varieties of Sopressata in Italy such as Sopressata di Calabria, a Sopressata which has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. This status offers name protection and legally regulates Sopressata’s production, requiring that it be manufactured within the Calabria region, and made with pork from locally raised pigs, according to traditional methods.

Our Sopressata from Creminelli has hints of garlic and red wine which give it a robust full-bodied flavor, while Busseto Hot Sopressata is flavored with red chile peppers, wine, and dried fennel. Sopressata by Beretta is a traditional Italian dry cured sausage with a coarse grind, whereas Sopressata by Aux Delices Des Bois is a new brand on the market that is making a lot of fans. Sopressata are perfect as an hors d'oeuvre, or for the antipasto board, sliced thin with good bread, mustard or a mostarda, and a few of your favorite Italian cheeses.

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