Staying in Italy’s cold north for the beginning of the new year, the first special of 2015 is salame tradizionale from Piedmont. Agrisalumeria Luiset near Asti performs every stage of the salumi-making process from growing the animal feed to selling the salumi, prioritising traditional methods and ingredients. Brother and sister Mauro and Chiara Cassetta took over the business from their father who started it thirty years ago.
Their large white pigs have space to roam on their farm, and are given a healthy diet to produce the best quality meat. The Cassettas slaughter on average eight pigs a week, once they have reached about 200kg, which is very big for a pig. The abattoir is close to the farm, minimising the distress of travelling for the pigs, then next door to this is the kitchens, where the whole animal is used to make a range of products.
Salame tradizionale is a lean salame made from the hind leg and belly, with barbera wine and peppercorns. Unlike the salame al barolo, which contains significantly more barolo wine, only 1.5 litres of barbera is added per 100kg of meat. No garlic or other spices are added.
It is then stuffed into a thin casing, the same as would be used for fresh sausages. Thinner cases allow for faster ageing, so it is hung for only two months before it is ready. The Luiset shop also sells these salame at one week old for grilling – unlike their British counterparts, Italian fresh sausages are usually cured with saltpetre and are therefore good to eat both raw and cooked.