The art of curing high-quality meats is a long-held tradition found in cultures around the world. Originally, ancient peoples were seeking out ways to preserve meat from spoiling over long periods of time. As the practice of curing and fermentation grew from a survival technique to an artisan craft, many terms and names began to develop. The word charcuterie is derived from the french word for preserved meat.
In the Italian-American tradition that Volpi was founded on, two terms are used frequently: Salami Vs. Salumi. They are closely related and often confuse people early on in their charcuterie journey. Let’s break down the meaning of both of these words borne from traditions.
You’re likely not a stranger to Salami. Maybe you’ve ordered it on an Italian sandwich from your favorite sub shop, or you have seen logs around the deli case of the local supermarket. It is a food product that has effectively made it to the mainstream of American culinary culture.
Speaking broadly, Salami is a cured meat product that is made up of ground pork: the meat is minced, seasoned to the salumiere’s style and preference, and packed into a casing. It is then cured over time to develop and mature the signature flavors.
Salami can be produced with a wide swathe of flavors depending on the seasonings applied before curing. These changes produce interesting regional varieties like Genoa, Felino, and Finnochiona Salami.
Salumi is likely the term that you’re less familiar with. That’s expected given that it’s a term that refers to a variety of different products. Both Salami and Salumi derive from the root word Salume. This is an Italian term that refers to a very broad category of Italian artisan preserved meats, similar to the broadly adopted French term, charcuterie.
Salumi refers exclusively to those artisan craft meats that are made of pork. Italian Tradition uses all parts of the hog – from snout to tail – to create delicacies like Pancetta and Guanciale. Salami falls under the category, but so do many other foods like Prosciutto, Coppa, or Sopressata.
These types of artisan meats have a long history. Since they’ve made the journey from Italy to the US and around the globe, some of the ways we talk about them have changed, but the thing that doesn’t change is the tradition behind it all.
Volpi still embodies the ideals of the craft by focusing on producing high-quality Salumi and Sliced Salami in small batches, using traditional ingredients with no nitrites or nitrates, and focusing on delivering premium flavor, from our family to yours.