Salsiccia di Calabria and
Here we continue our presentation of Italy's 155 products of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO, or, in Italian, DOP, Denominazione di Origine Protetta) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI, or IGP in Italian, Indicazione Geografica Protetta).
Salsiccia di Calabria DOP (Calabria)
In a 1691 book entitled 'Della Calabria Illustrata' (Calabria Picture Book), Father Giovanni Fiore da Cropani divides the "great Animal Republic" into four categories, and lists pigs among the domesticated ones, as a source of fresh and preserved meat. In particular the author lists cuts preserved "in Lardi, in Salsicci, in Suppressate" ("as lard, sausages, and soppressatas"). In addition, the monk reveals that in those times salamis where produced in large amounts "con guadagno incredibile de' Traffichieri" ("with incredible earnings for the merchants").
The Salsiccia di Calabria DOP is made with a minced meat from pigs born in the Calabria, Basilicata, Sicily, Apulia and Campania regions, but raised exclusively in Calabria from the age of four months on.
The preparation includes 20% of fat and 80% of lean meat. The whole is minced at a temperature of 4°C (39.2°F) or lower, then the mixture is seasoned with salt and natural aromas, which must include black pepper and/or crushed red pepper, which can be either hot or not, depending on the taste of the producer. The mix is then filled into pork gut and hung to dry in its typical chain-shaped form.
Ageing last at least one month, and the final product must be flavorful and slightly spicy. When cut, it reveals a natural or vivid red color, depending on whether black or chile pepper is used as seasoning. The perfume is more or less intense and the flavor pleasant and balanced, more intense in the hot, spiced-up version.
The Salsiccia di Calabria DOP is preserved in cool, dry rooms, hanging from the ceiling, and it lasts up to 12 months. It may be preserved in olive oil or grease as well, in hermetically sealed glass containers or vacuum-packed.
The Salsiccia di Calabria DOP is an essential ingredient of many Southern Italian recipes, but it may be served as an hors d'oeuvres along with other traditional cold cuts and cheeses, which are typically paired with naturally leavened, home-made style bread.
Soppressata di Calabria DOP (Calabria)
The origin of the tradition to preserve pork meat in the Calabria region is believed to date back to the times of the Greek colonization of Southern Italy. The most ancient written document known is by Roman author, Varrone, who wrote about "minced meat, preserved in pork guts", which the Roman soldiers learned to prepare from the inhabitants of Southern Italy. Another Roman writer, Apicio, in his book, 'De Re Coquinaria' reveals that the preparation of this type of meat required the use of salt and pepper to guarantee the preservation.
Several written documents dating back to the 17th century mention the tradition of transforming and preserving pork meat using different methods, and many of those traditional techniques are still alive to this day in Calabria, a region which has maintained many characteristics of the traditional peasant gastronomy.
World famous Giacomo Casanova showed his appreciation for Calabrian cold cuts as well, writing in his memoirs that while visiting the region he had the opportunity to taste the local salamis, which he greatly enjoyed, at a dinner offered by Bishop, Francescantonio Cavalcanti.
The Soppressata di Calabria DOP is made with meat from pigs grown in Calabria, and often the breeder grows the chile peppers used to season the meat as well. The cuts which are usually made into prosciutto and the pork shoulder provide the lean meat, while the fat, which in this case accounts for 12-15% of the total, is taken from the loin. The preparation is similar to that of Salsiccia di Calabria DOP, only that the meat is more roughly ground. The soppressatas are entwined by hand and aged for a period of 45 to 80 days.
Traditionally the Soppressata di Calabria DOP is kept in cool, dry places, hanging from the ceiling, and last for up to 12 months, As for the Salsiccia di Calabria DOP, this type of salami may be preserved in olive oil or grease as well, in hermetically sealed glass containers or vacuum-packed.
The Soppressata di Calabria DOP is served mostly as hors d'oeuvres with other types of cold cuts and cheeses, paired with local bread, though it is sometimes used to add flavor to pasta dishes or main courses.
The finished product has a slightly flattened cylindrical shape, is around 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) long and has a diameter of about 6 centimeters (2.37 inches). The slice is compact and soft, with a natural to vivid red color, depending on the addition of black or chile pepper as seasoning. The flavor is more or less intense for the same reason.
- Production Zone:
The whole Calabria region.