The New Gastronome
“In 5 Salumi”
by Alessandra Costa
by Alessandra Costa
From the North to the South, from the Alps to the Mediterranean, from the fog to the scorching sun: along the whole boot of Italy, the cured meats occupy an essential space on the regional tables, with a variety of choices and different flavors that are perfect for filling sandwiches, for rolling around breadsticks, or can be simply sensational when eaten sliced.
If, historically, the cured meat was born because of the need to preserve meat for long time periods when food resources were not readily available, today, it’s become a virtue of every bar that respects aperitivo time.
The artisanal and authentic tastes derive from the way the Italian animals are raised to the skillful use of spices and natural herbs to the selection of producers, as well as, other secrets that make the final product good.
La Mocetta Valdostana, Maison Bertolin
In the Aosta Valley, they call it motsetta from the so-called “morseau de vianda setza” (piece of dried meat) and it’s prepared starting from cuts of bovine leg, which are lean, and left to macerate with salt and herbs that are mountain dried for a maximum period of three months. It’s the salami of the Alpino doc, the one with the feather on the hat and a mustache that’s so big, it covers and warms the nose. It’s meant to be savored, slice after slice, with a little oil and walnuts or accompanied by gherkins in a sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy it without feeling too guilty because, like the bresaola, the mocetta is among the leanest salami that you can find at the deli counter!
Speck Trentino Scudo, Crucolo
We’re located at the foot of the mountains, but on the other side! The inspiration for our speck comes from the bachen (sausage of Germanic origin). We carefully select pork legs that have a great balance of fat and lean meat that’s slowly smoked on the wood of the mountain, which gives the salami its classic dark color, as well as, an unmistakable aromatic herbaceous note. The speck is a perfect match with black bread, but if you feel it’s too lonely, you can also combine it with all kinds of radicchio, mushrooms, and the inevitable brie!
Mortadella Classica, Bonfatti
We’re located in the beating heart of Emilia-Romagna, where cholesterol is combined with water retention; where the fried gnocco never suffers from loneliness, and where every disease is treated with a glass of Lambrusco. In this idyllic horizon, the mortazza is born from crushing pork and fat cubes that are stuffed and cooked in dry air stoves and left to cool. The aroma is so fragrant, it’ll make your head spin! The taste is so irresistibly sweet, it melts in your mouth in a second.
Capocollo of Martina Franca, Santoro
Let’s go South of Italy’s heel, where we come across one of the most renowned Apulian products–the result of an artisanal processing of the top of the pig’s neck that’s salted, marinated in cooked wine, stuffed, smoked in a special cotton cloth and then aged. The Capocollo tastes of the Mediterranean earth and sea, of trulli and woods, of salinity that blows from the Adriatic and the Ionian seas–the tastes of the warm and welcoming South. A word of advice: eating it with the local tarallo is addictive!
Pancetta di Calabria, Pugliese Brothers
We conclude our gastronomic tour of Italy with a spicy tone. As a 100% Calabrian product, this bacon certainly couldn’t escape the generous final sprinkling of finely chopped sweet pepper. Obtained from the bottom of the pork, it’s salted, wet with wine vinegar and then seasoned. It has a looseness that resembles that of a lard and a flavor that makes it a perfect combination with squacquerone cheese and dried tomatoes.
Photos: ©2018 Aarón Gómez Figueroa