If you’re visiting Bologna, Italy soon, then you should try having some salumi Bologna. Salumi is what Italians call the cured meats that are famous in their country. In fact, everywhere you go in Bologna or in Italy, for that matter, you’ll see signs with salumi written on it. But one of the things you need to know is that there are actually many different kinds of salumi. In the states, the word Bologna itself is used to refer to a type of cured meat.
This article serves as a short guide to Italian cured meats. Read this piece so you will never feel lost in a sea of cured and preserved meats during your trip to Bologna.
So what is salumi exactly? The literal meaning of the word is “salted meat.” This is because the main method of meat preservation in Italy is with the use of a generous amount of salt. You can think of it as their version of cold cuts. Most types of salumi are made from pork. But during your trip, you may also encounter cured meats that are made from deer, wild boar, or even horse. There are probably hundreds of different types of salumi. And they vary in terms of casing used, seasoning added, and even in the methods of curing the meat.
There are three general categories of salumi. There’s salumi, salami, and salsicca. Salumi, in its strictest sense, refers to cured meats that are made from a whole cut of the animal. The shoulder or thigh of the animal is often used to make salumi. You’ve probably heard or tasted prosciutto before. Well, it’s actually a good example of salumi and probably the most popular cure meat that came from Italy. It’s easy to find prosciutto in delis and even groceries in the U.S.
The term salami – another word that many are familiar with – is actually a type of salumi that has been aired, smoked, or salted and left to age. Yes, it’s the same salami that Americans know and love. Pepperoni is another type of cured meat that can be classified as salami.
Last but not least is the salsicca. This type of salumi refers to what we know as sausages. These are made with ground meat that is encased. You can either get these sausages raw or slightly cooked. In some places, however, salsicca or sausages are considered a subgroup of salami.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll find many different shops in Bologna selling salumi Bologna. You can find them in meat shops, in supermarkets, and, of course, in cafes and restaurants. But if you really want to maximize your trip to Bologna and if you want to taste as many salumi as you want, then the best thing for you to do is to go on an Italian food tour. A company you can check out is Sapori e Saperi, they hold specialty tours in Italy that mostly revolve around food. They will give you a taste (literally) of Italy that you won’t soon forget.