By Kenneth Foo
A look at a hog’s heaven near the mountain town of Cagli reveals one secret in the magic story of how salumi has become a star of Italy’s culinary culture.
“I want them to be happy, because a happy pig is a delicious pig,” said Sergio, clad in mud-splattered cover-alls and dusty wellingtons. “This is how good salumi comes about.”
Organically-raised pigs like the ones on Sergio’s farm are perfect for the creation of the salumi, superstars of ham and one of Italy’s distinctive gastronomical inventions.
“It is foolish to try to make good salumi from the meat of industrial pigs. The taste will be inferior,” said Sergio who makes a small amount of salumi such as the prized lardo and prosciutto at his farm, selling both raw and cured meat to nearby specialty shops and restaurants.
For Stefano Galli, owner of Salumi Galli, a renowned salumi making company in Fermingnano, preserving family traditions is much more than just sticking to every detail in the family recipe book. It is also an unstinting devotion to his family’s practices of using only the freshest locally grown meats and to make them using centuries-old artisanal methods of spicing and curing.
“Seasoning and curing meat is an extremely precise and painstaking process,” said Galli, a tub of minced pork belly at his elbow. “Lean meat, fat and seasoning salt have to be in exact quantities; too much or too little will ruin the flavor.”
“Everything has to be perfecto. Everything”, he said while tying the loose end of a sausage casing, his voice suddenly edged with an impressive gravity. You never doubt a man when he speaks like that. Not when he is a salumi artisan, wholly immersed in his work. Read the full article
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