Every year Jim Fiala and Adam Gnau embark on a pilgrimage to the country they love so much. As they weave their way through the Italian countryside, from Tuscany to Sicily, they get to sample some of the finest cuisine the country has to offer. Each enoteca they visit brings a new experience, with the chefs utilizing locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients to create exquisite traditional dishes.
During the trip, the pair get to savor numerous varieties of flavorful salume. The deeply savory, tantalizingly and aromatic flavor of salumi are one of the pillars of the Italian dining experience. Each salume has a unique flavor, which has been cultivated through centuries of regional traditions. With the countless regional variations, it’s easy to confuse a pancetta with a capocollo, and a bresaola with a mortadella. But don’t worry, we’ve used our travels in Italy to come up with our five favorite salumi:
Prosciutto Di Parma
Throughout our travels to Italy, we have been lucky enough to sample many prosciutti from various regions, from Biellese to Cotto, and everywhere in between. But, our favorite has always been the king of Italian meat – Prosciutto di Parma. This meat is subject to the aromatic breezes of the Apennine Mountains during the airing process, which imparts a unique, sweet flavor into the ham.
A favorite amongst the Tuscans, this coarsely ground salame is wonderfully aromatic and rich with flavor. The sweetness of the meat is achieved through the fennel seed and fennel pollen seasoning, giving a delicate finish to the palate.
Salame Con Porcini
The complex flavor of the Salame Con Porcini is achieved through mixing the cured, dry meat with Barbera wine and Porcini mushrooms. This gives the meat a nuanced taste, with the saltiness of the pork being offset by the herbaceous flavors of the Barbera wine.
This air dried, coarse ground salami is the spiciest meat on our list, thanks to the North African influences which can be found within the sausage. A blend of hot pepper and paprika gives the meat it’s rich red color, which offers a tangy-hot flavor that is balanced by a touch of brown sugar.
Wild Boar Cacciatorini
Our final meat comes from central and southern Italy. Wild Boar Cacciatorini is a dry-cured salami, made from shoulder meat of feral hogs. The slightly sweet, yet robust flavors from the seasoned, somewhat gamey, meat can stand up to the boldest red wines.
Over the past decade we’ve been dedicated to providing Maplewood with a restaurant that pays homage to the country we love so much. That’s why we’ve partnered with Salumeria Biellese to bring the finest Italian cured meats to St. Louis. Visit us and start your evening our salumi & formaggi, and you’ll experience a true taste of Italy.