2025 W Main St.
Salem, VA 24153

Get to Know Italian-Cured Meats

Italy Has Many Different Cured Types of Meat

The staff at Mamma Maria’s in Salem, VA, would like you to get to know Italian-cured meats. No trip to an Italian restaurant is complete without trying the Salumi. This term is a catch-all definition of Italian-cured meats. You may ask yourself, what exactly is Salumi? The word salume (the singular form of Salumi) means salted meat. If you’re new to the Italian food culture, you may wonder what Italian-cured meats are. Mamma Maria’s is here to help.

Our restaurant will dive into what they are, the curing process, and their history. We love sharing our passion for Italian food with residents in and around Salem, VA. Customers love coming to our restaurant for delicious Italian cuisine. Let us allow you to get to know Italian-cured meats.

Cured Meats in Italy Have a Long History

The first processed forms of sausages appeared in Italy during the Roman Empire. You can find references to that in the work of Cato the Censor, Juvenal, and Horace, in his “Satires.” During this time, people salted and stored pork or wild boar in wooden barrels. According to Varro, Romans were fond of ham, and imported it from Cisalpine Gaul.

History finds that the first mentions of cured meats in the Middle Ages were about salt-preserved products. Corporations were responsible for regulating cured meat production, and Cardinal Girolamo Farnese decreed the suitable meats for fixing. Cured meat factories opened in the 19th century to combine innovation and tradition.

Learn About Various Types of Salumi

While most Italian Salumi comes from pork, you can also get it from wild boar, deer, and even horse. Italy has hundreds of Salumi that vary based on region, fat content, casing, seasoning, and curing methods. Here are a few examples of Italian-cured meats:


This meat is by far the most famous type of Salumi. It consists of the leg of the pig, and comes cooked or uncooked. All kinds of prosciutto have many similarities to an American ham.


Made in Valtellina, Bresaola consists of a super lean cut of beef with almost no fat at all. We know this Italian meat for its rich red color.


This Italian-cured bacon consists of pork belly cured and seasoned with black pepper. Italians use this meat to add flavor to dishes.


In the United States, Genoa Salami is perhaps the most popular type. This finely-ground meat contains tiny visible flecks of fat. There are nearly as many types of salmi as regions throughout Italy.

Salame Piccante

Americans call this meat pepperoni. The Italian definition of pepperoni is actually sweet bell peppers. Salame Piccante is salami spiced with red peppers.


This Italian meat consists of various pig parts, which vary by region. While spices and seasoning vary, red peppers make up the bulk of this meat. Because of that, this Salumi can be a bit spicy.


This meat must go through a grounding process before casing in order to reach the cured status. Sausage differs from prosciutto, which consists of an entire animal cut.


Fennel seeds and black pepper make up Luganega. Italians often use this meat in Risotto dishes.


This dish is famous in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna and consists of a large cut of raw sausage boiled for hours. After boiling, cooks mix Cotechino in with lentils. This meal is a staple on New Year’s Eve for good luck.

Understand the Process of Dry Curing Italian Salumi

Controlled curing of the meat prevents spoilage while improving texture and taste. Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing says meat loses 30 percent of its water weight from curing. Salting and drying do more than coax out moisture and improve flavor. They dehydrate microbes that cause potentially hazardous bacteria. Curing also allows good bacteria to survive. By the time you eat, you could say that your salame is alive because of its thriving ecosystem of microorganisms.

Visit Mamma Maria’s in Salem, VA to Get to Know Italian-Cured Meats

Salem, VA, and beyond love coming to Mamma Maria’s in Salem, VA, for authentic Italian food. We pride ourselves on using the freshest ingredients, and providing a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for our customers. Residents in and around Salem, VA, love coming to us to get to know Italian-cured meats.

Mamma Maria’s takes great pride in providing delicious Italian food for our customers. Whether you’re looking for a nice night out, or celebrating an occasion with family, come to our restaurant. We are proud to provide residents of Salem, VA, and beyond with a great food menu.

If you would like to get to know Italian-cured meats, call Mamma Maria’s in Salem, VA, at (540) 389-2848. Customers in Salem, VA, can also contact us online or send an email. Please like our Facebook page to learn about promotions and other information with Mamma Maria’s. If you live in Salem, VA, and surrounding areas, visit us today to get to know Italian-cured meats.