As I mentioned in the previous blog: Salumi is the product family that includes salame: all Salame are Salumi, but not all Salumi are Salame. Salame are made of ground meat and Salumi are made from whole pieces that are not ground. In Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish it is Salam; in Hungarian it is szalámi; in French it is saucisson.


Here is a look at some salame one is likely find in Italy:



Cacciatorini (small rustic salami)

Also called “Hunter's” salami, Cacciatorini sausages are popular for their characteristic taste and small size. Salami "alla cacciatora" are produced in the ten regions of northern and central Italy. Historically, this particular type of salami was first produced at the time of the Longobard invasions in the hilly regions of Lombardy, when cured meat, mostly pork, was the staple diet of the invading barbarians, because it preserved well during their long migrations.

This type of salami is called "alla cacciatora" because it became a favorite food among hunters. Its small size made it ideal for carrying in knapsacks and for easy and quick consumption whenever hunger kicked in. The law regulating the production of salami "alla cacciatore" sets the rules not only for the quality of its ingredients but also for its dimensions. Each "salamino" should not be more than 2.4 inches in diameter and 8 inches in length, with a maximum weight of 11.6 oz.



Ciauscolo (a soft salami)

Ciauscolo (say "cha-USE-colo") is a semi-soft salami, originating from the hills of Le Marche. Unlike its longer-aged cousins, Ciauscolo is prized for its softer texture than "hard" salami and meant to be eaten while young. Ciauscolo is smoked and dry-cured, made from pork meat and fat cut from the shoulder and belly. It is spiced with black pepper and garlic, and in some rare cases vincotto. Traditionally, the meat used to make this sausage was chopped by hand with a meat cleaver.  The cleaver’s heavy blade minced the meat very finely.  Today, the meat is passed through a meat grinder three times using increasingly small screens. It is mixed with the spices and cure, stuffed into wide hog middles, and left for a 12- to 24-hour drying period. Once the surface has become tacky, the sausage is cold-smoked over juniper branches for two days, then hung to cure. Although it can be aged for a month or more, it is typically eaten after only a brief two weeks. The result is a very soft, moist sausage which can be spread on bread, in a manner similar to some pâtés.




Cotechino is produced with the same mix used for Zampone, but it is put in a different type of casing. Cotechino is also available for sale in the raw and pre-cooked sterilized versions. The consumption of Cotechino normally takes place in winter months, in particular, during the Christmas period; however, its presence on the table is also extending to other occasions.

Cotechino Modena, just like the Zampone Modena, has been given the IGP recognition. From a nutritional point of view, Cotechino guarantees a good supply of noble proteins and the composition of the fats it contains is in line with the suggestions of modern nutritional sciences.




Mortadella IGP has a centuries-old history and is produced using techniques that are unique in the world. Mortadella is a large sausage made of finely hashed or ground, heat-cured pork sausage, which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). Mortadella is a staple product of Bologna. It is originally flavored with ground pepper and myrtle, however, modern recipes include various spices, nutmeg and pistachios and/or olives – even jalapeños.



'Nduja (spicy hot soft salami)

Nduja is a soft, spicy hot, spreadable salami considered one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of typical native Calabrian foods. Nduja originates from Spilinga, though great nduja can be found in all areas of Monte Poro. The name nduja comes from the French word "andouille", which means "sausage". Nduja is made with pork meat, a bit of fat, salt and a lot of red pepper. In general, nduja is extremely spicy. 'Nduja is made using meat from the head (minus the cheeks, which are used for guanciale), trimmings from various meat cuts, some clean skin, fatback, and roasted hot red peppers which give 'nduja its characteristic fiery taste.



Salame Casareccio (home style salami)

A rustic salami with a medium grind, found on most Italian dinner tables.



Salame di Felino (a semi-soft salami)

Salame Felino is a pure pork salame from Felino. This special aged sausage has been produced for centuries, along with Prosciutto Crudo di Parma. Salame Felino is made according to the ancient art of salame-making and distinguishing it from other pork products made in the hills of the nearby Apennine Mountains. This special salume is the product of the best pork meat and the particular microclimate of the area of production, allowing it to be aged naturally due to the ideal temperature and right amount of humidity and ventilation. The fresh meat used to make the salame is carefully selected from deboned shoulder and belly that is ground with lean and fat cuts of ham. The meat is mixed with salt, spices and natural aromas. The salame should contain 25-30% fat and hard fat is preferred. After the meat is coarsely ground, salt, whole peppercorns and white wine are added. The salame is then stuffed by hand into a pork casing, which gives it its characteristic uneven shapewidth. It is then aged slowly and the final product should be soft, with a sweet taste and delicate aroma. Currently, Salame Felino is in the process of becoming an IGP.



Salame Finocchiona (fennel and garlic infused large salami)

Finocchiona, a variation on salami, supposedly owes its origins to a thief at a fair near the town of Prato, who stole a fresh salami and hid it in a stand of wild fennel. When he returned for it, he found it had absorbed the aromas of its hiding place and had become fit for the Gods. There are two kinds of finocchiona: sbriciolona, which is very fresh, and something of an acquired taste, akin to fresh sausage, and finocchiona proper, which is firmer.



Salame di Sant'Olcese (a rustic salami)

This is NOT what Americans commonly know as "Genoa" salami. Genoa salami is not an actual product of the city of Genoa and no Genoese would acknowledge the existence of something called "Salame Genovese." The salame the Genoese are proud of looks and tastes much different than the American "Genoa" salami. Salame di Sant'Olcese is the true Genoese sausage; it is a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (traditional agricultural food product), and originates in the hilly interior of Genoa's hinterland where pigs are traditionally easily maintained on acorns, chestnuts, and hazelnuts of the local Mediterranean woodlands. Unfortunately, I can get few details about this salami, other than it is a “Subtle salami flavored with black pepper and garlic.”



Salame Inferno (hot salami)

As the name would suggest, this medium to fine grind salami is packed with lots of fiery spice! 



Strolghino (small, semi-soft salami of prosciutto)

Strolghino dates back to 1700 in the zone near the Po River, in the province of Parma, according to the methods of the local ancient butchery tradition that today still expresses itself with extraordinary products as Culatello and Fiocchetto di Culatello. Made from the hind leg, Strolghino could be considered as the salami version of prosciutto; it has always been the first cured meat to be eaten, thanks to its short aging. The traditional story claims that the name derives from the word “Strolga;” in parmesan dialect means “Witch,” because it’s necessary to have magic capacities to prepare such a delicate and fragrant salami! This salami is softly sweet, best sliced on an angle to 10mm thick, remembering to remove the casing. Serve with a tall glass of bubbles.



Soppressata (medium-hot salami)

Soppressata can be made of fresh hams, pressed pork belly, tongue, stomach and other parts of the pig. Pork is the traditional meat used, though it is sometimes made using beef. The meat is either coarsely pressed (salumi) or ground (salami.) Pressing gives it an uneven, rustic appearance when sliced. Soppressata is a specialty of southern Italy, and often includes hot pepper (though, as with all salami, seasonings vary). The sausage is hung up to dry for anywhere between three and 12 weeks, depending on the diameter, and loses about 30% of its original weight. Cured soppressata is often stored in jars of olive oil.




Wurstel is a type of salami that resembles the American Hot Dog or a small Bologna. It arrived in Italy from central Europe, but is very common in Italy. Generally small in size (single portion), it is made by putting a mix of selected pork meats into a casing. The external and internal color is normally pink, whereas, the taste of the individual types can be personalized by the addition of flavorings, such as red onion, salt, pepper, oregano and, sometimes, even sugar. 




Typically Italian, Zampone is a mix of lean pork, minced pork skin and fat, with salt and spices, which is then stuffed into the skin of front pork trotters. The market offers both raw and pre-cooked and sterilized Zampones. The latter is particularly appreciated because it reduces preparation times. Its consumption is mainly in the winter months, in particular, during the Christmas period, but it would deserve more attention from consumers throughout the entire year. Zampone Modena is an IGP charcuterie product.


Here are some other important salami:

Lombardy, there are three notable types of salami: Brianza (D.O.P.), Varzi (D.O.P.), and Milano

The Veneto region is famous for salame nostrano and salame Veneto

Piemonte is renowned for their traditional salam'd la douja which is preserved in pork fat called “douja”

Emilia-Romagna is known for salame Piacentino (D.O.P.) and salame Felino

Tuscany is famous for Finocchiona, discussed above, but also salame Chianino and salame di Cinta Senese

Umbria, where there is a great tradition of salumeria in general, there are many superb salami such as salame Corallina, salame Perugino and local salsicce (hard, dry sausages). Around the town of Norcia, some of the salami and sausages are made from wild boar, which are particularly plentiful here.

 The Marche region is renowned for salame Fabriano

 Lazio produces the salame del Reatino

 Abruzzo makes the celebrated Ventricina and the salame d’Aquila

 Campania produces salame Napoli

 Sardegna, there are the Sartizzu and Salsiccia sarda varieties

 Calabria makes salame di Crotone

 Sicily is famous for salame di Sant’Angelo in Brolo

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