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Different Types Of Salami For National Salami Day

September 7th is National Salami Day, a day to enjoy a slice or two…or more. But while many Americans tend to think of a kosher-style deli salami (photo #10) as “salami,” there are many different types of salami to choose from.

For example, pepperoni is a type of salami. So are chorizo, ‘nduja and soppressata.

In fact, there are hundreds of types of salami, not just from Italy but from every region. New variations are created each day according to Volpi Foods, which produces several varieties.

“That means you could spend your entire life touring the world, one salami at a time, and still never get to try them all,” says Volpi.

To explain why there are hundreds of varieties, let’s start at the beginning.

Thanks to Columbus Craft Meats, Olli Salumeria Americana, and Volpi Foods for some of the information in this article.
> The different types of salami are below.

> The history of salami is below.

The word salami has been around for centuries and is derived from the singular Italian word “salume,” which refers to all types of salted meat. If you find yourself confused over “salami” versus “salume”: salume is singular, and salami is plural.

The Oxford Dictionary defines salami as “a type of highly seasoned sausage, originally from Italy, usually eaten cold in slices.”

The word originated in Italy from the late Latin word meaning “to salt.”

Salami is most often made with pork meat—although other varieties, such as wild boar, duck, and venison exist. Kosher and halal salami are made from beef, and beef and other meats are blended with pork in certain recipes.

  • To make salami, the meat is ground and kneaded to achieve the desired texture, then fat and various spices are added according to the recipe.
  • In general, the cuts of pork used are the thigh, shoulder, loin, filet, belly, and the succulent fat from the pig’s jowls (guanciale).
  • A good salame has to have the right balance of lean meat and fat. The tendency today, especially for industrial (mass-produced) products, is to make leaner salami, which affects the taste and texture but looks better on the package’s nutrition panel.
  • The best salami are artisanal—“fatti come una volta,” which means “made as they used to be.” The recipes can go back for centuries.
  • Salami are usually aged between 30 and 90 days and beyond.
    Salami vs. Salumi

    Salumi (note the “u,” not the “a” in salami) is the category that includes all craft meats, including salami, sausage, and charcuterie.

    The plural of salumi is salume.

    Charcuterie is a French term for prepared meat products made primarily from pork, including bacon, ballotines, confits, galantines, hams, pâtés, rillettes, sausages, and terrines.

    The three main components that set the different types of salami apart are:

  • The ingredients: meat, seasonings, and fat. Some salami use a blend of spices to create complex flavors, while others are simpler—just salt and garlic, for example.
  • How the meat is cut (chopped vs. ground, e.g.).
  • How it is prepared (for example, cooked by hot smoking or cold smoking, dry-cured*, or water bath.
    Salami Vs. Salume

    Salume refers to all Italian meats that are cooked, preserved, or cured*. All salami are salumi, but not all salumi are salami.

  • Salami (the plural of salame) is a specific type of salumi.
  • Ham and other deli meats such as bresaola, pancetta, and prosciutto, are also salumi.
  • Salumi, while often made with pork, may also be made with other meats, such as beef, boar, and venison.
    Salami Vs. Sausage

    All salami are sausages at the early stages of production.

  • Salami is then either hot smoked, fermented, or potentially dried to finish the process. It is cured* and ready to eat.
  • Fresh sausage is minced meat and fat, with salt and spices stuffed into a natural or synthetic casing. It is generally sold raw and must be cooked before eating.
  • Both are made from ground meat mixed with seasonings and stuffed into a casing. Salami is then dried until the desired hardness is achieved.
  • Preparation techniques differ.

    There are numerous examples of artisanal salami in almost every region of Italy. What follows are some of the varieties that are better known in the U.S.
    Italian Salami

    Calabrese Salami. Spicy Calabrese from Calabria gets its kick from cayenne pepper and paprika, making it zesty but not overpowering (photo #11). Italy’s Calabria region is known for its spicy foods.

    Cacciatore Salami. Cacciatore is Italian for “hunter” (photo #1). The story goes that hunters carried this spicy sausage as a snack on long hunting trips. It can be made with all pork, a pork/beef blend, venison, or wild boar.

    Coppa. Coppa is not a salami, but it looks like one, marbled with delicious fat. Instead, it is charcuterie, a whole cut of meat taken from a single muscle, pork shoulder that’s typically rubbed with pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. It’s then slowly aged and air-dried for at least 45 days. This brings out its full tenderness and fragrance. It can substitute for prosciutto, which is cured from the pig’s hind leg. Hot coppa (photo #12) is rubbed with crushed red pepper flakes and paprika.

    Genoa Salami. Genoa Salami is a hard, garlic-heavy, dry-cured meat from Genoa in the Liguria region of northwestern Italy (photo #9). It’s 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 (photo #3).

    Hard Salami. A dry, smoky salami seasoned with garlic, salt, white pepper, and red wine with a characteristic fermented flavor.

    Italian Dry Salami. A rich salami, coarsely ground, flavored with Italian-style seasonings, garlic, and red wine with a characteristic fermented flavor.

    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.

    Napoli Salami. The traditional smoked salami from Naples, Napoli salami is smoked over applewood giving it a complex, hearty flavor.

    ‘Nduja. ‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable salami from Calabria (photo #5). a href=””>Here’s more about it.

    Pepperoni. Pepperoni is not Italian in origin, but an Italian-American variety of salami, seasoned with chiles and spices. A popular American pizza topping, it can be enjoyed on sandwiches, with cheese, or sliced and served on a charcuterie board.

    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, one of the most well-known types of Italian salami, is a dry-cured, pressed pork salami (photo #4). The ingredients, flavor, and texture of soppressata vary based on region, with flavors that range from sweet to savory. Seasonings can include basil, chiles, fennel, garlic, and/or oregano. Hot or spicy sopressata contain hot chile pepper, sweet sopressata contains only cayenne, and white sopressata contains only black pepper.

    Toscano Salami. This Tuscan specialty is made with wild Tuscan fennel, which, imparts a slight, licorice-like aroma and flavor (p.
    Other Salami

    Chorizo. Chorizo is a type of pork sausage originating on the Iberian Peninsula (photo #2). It is made in many regional varieties and in several countries on different continents, most notably Mexico. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh (raw, uncooked) pork and seasoned with vinegar and chiles. Spanish chorizo is usually made with smoked pork seasoned with garlic and pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika, either sweet or hot—the pimentón gives Spanish chorizo its deep brick-red color and smoky flavor. Spanish chorizo is available in fully cooked and dry, to be sliced like salami/pepperoni;, and fully cooked and soft (semicured).

    French Salami. Saucisson sec is the French term for dry salami. It’s a thick dry cured sausage 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. There are numerous regional differences. Rosette de Lyon (photo #6), for example, is a dry sausage that consists of coarsely chopped pork, often from the shoulder, with fat, spices, and a hint of garlic.

    German Salami. German salami is traditionally made with a mixture of pork and beef and seasoned with garlic and spices. It’s 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, founded in 1869, makes the best-known variety of winter salami. It is known for its cover of white-gray mold, a harmless mold (think Brie and Camembert) that helps to preserve the salami and keep it moist.

    Spanish Salami. Spanish salami, called salchichon, is a spicy salami made with finely ground pork and beef, and seasoned with peppercorns.
    > The different cuts of pork and pork products.

    > The different types of charcuterie: a glossary.

    > The different types of bacon.

    The concept of curing and preserving meat dates back thousands of years. In ancient times, people discovered that salting, drying, and fermenting meat helped to extend its shelf life, making it a valuable food source, especially during the winter months or for consumption on long journeys.

    The Romans are often credited with refining the art of meat preservation. They used a combination of salt, spices, and natural fermentation to create a variety of cured meat products.

    In Roman times, these meats belonged to a group of food called salsum, meaning “salted.”

    Even in prehistoric times, salt was known to be an indispensable way to preserve meat. Salt naturally expels water and blocks the proliferation of bacteria.

    Toward that end, some modern salume, like sopressata and sausages, belong to the category of air-cured pork meats called salumi insaccati (“encased”), which means that the meat is wrapped in natural skin, usually made from pig intestines.

    Italy is arguably the most famous producer of salami in the world. Various Italian regions have their own traditional types of salami: Calabrese salami, Genoa salami, Milano salami, Toscano salami, and others noted above.

    During the Middle Ages, the practice of making salami and other cured meats spread throughout Europe. As in Italy, different regions in different countries developed their own variations of salami. Each had its own unique combination of flavors and ingredients, which were based on available resources and local customs.


    Sliced Cacciatore Salami
    [1] Cacciatore salami (it means “hunter” in Italian) is a traditional Italian salami with a bit more spice (all photos except as noted © Columbus Craft Meats).

    Sliced Chorizo
    [2] Chorizo salami (photo © Murray’s Cheese).

    Sliced Finocchiona Salami With Garlic Cloves
    [3] Finocchiona salami, from Tuscany is seasoned with fennel seed and garlic cloves.

    Sliced Hot Sopressata Salami
    [4] Hot sopressata. Sopressata is also made in sweet and white styles.

    Nduja on Crackers
    [5] ’Nduja is a spicy, spreadable salami from Calabria. Here’s more about it (photo © Murray’s Cheese).

    Slices Of Rosette de Lyon French Salami
    [6] Rosette de Lyon, French salami.

    Slices Of Italian Dry Salami (Secchi)
    [7] Salami secchi—dry Italian salami.

    Toscano Salami Whole & Sliced
    [8] Toscano salami (photo © Olli Salumeria Americana | Facebook).

    Slices Of Genoa Salami
    [9] Genoa salami.

    Kosher Beef Salami
    [10] The familiar deli salami in New York is a kosher-style hard beef salami (photo © Liebman’s Kosher Deli | Goldbelly).

    Sliced Calabrese Salami With Hot Chile Pepper
    [11] Calabrese salami, made hot with habanero chiles.

    Slices Of Hot Coppa
    [12] Hot coppa (photo © De Laurenti).

    Italian immigrants played a significant role in introducing salami to the Americas, where it became popular in countries like the United States and Argentina.
    The Industrialization Of Modern Salami

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, advances in food processing and manufacturing techniques led to the industrial (mass) production of salami. This made salami more widely available and affordable to a broader audience.

    Modern salami production involves the careful selection of meat cuts, mixing the chopped or ground meat with spices and fat, curing, and fermentation. The specific ingredients and processes can vary widely, and some artisanal producers still rely on traditional methods.
    Salami Today

    Salami has become a global food, enjoyed in various forms and dishes worldwide. It’s commonly found on charcuterie boards, in sandwiches, in pasta, and on pizza, among other culinary creations.

    One can find a wide range of salami flavors, from traditional to experimental. Some producers create unique combinations by adding ingredients like wine, cheese, herbs, nuts, or even fruits to the mix.

    How about lamb, juniper, and gin salami seasoned with orange peel and coriander, two of the botanicals in gin?

    A saucisson rouge nose-to-tail pork salami with the pig’s liver and heart in addition to its flesh?

    Blackberry duck salami with blackberries, cinnamon, orange peel, and boysenberry sour ale?

    Dodge City salami salami seasoned with lots of pepper, garlic, and fennel pollen that aims to create a porchetta-like explosion of flavors in your mouth?

    Spruce & Candy salami with spruce tips, American Pale Ale, lemon peel, clove, Calabrian pepper, and pink peppercorns?

    We could go on and on. But perhaps the next step is for you to hit the store and pick up some good salami.

    *Curing is any of various food preservation and flavoring processes of foods such as meat, fish, and vegetables, by the addition of salt. Salt draws moisture out of the food. This occurs by the process of osmosis, which in turn draws out potentially harmful bacteria. With moisture removed, potential new bacteria lose a favorable environment in which to thrive, and the longevity of the food item is increased.



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