It is finally happening: A four-decade ban on importing salumi from certain locales in Italy will end on May 28, 2013. Salumi is, of course, the name for Italian dried cured meats, most of them raw. This means enzymes in the meat, instead of being destroyed by heat, can break down proteins over months into a variety of amino acids that add both flavor and nutritional punch to these amazing delicacies.
The ban on the salumi originated after an outbreak of swine vesicular disease was discovered in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto and the Trento and Bolzano provinces. But now, say U.S. health inspectors, the threat in those areas is gone…and the meat is on!
My mouth salivates at the future of dining in the U.S. thanks to those wonderful Italians. It will be the first time I get to savor with delightful indulgence the best of the best salumi, which, in my opinion include culatello, the “king of cured meats” whose creation dates back to the fifteenth century, and salame di Felino, a slice of heaven that goes back even further, to the Middle Ages. Don’t you just want to go out and buy a special knife to honor your first cut into these cured treasures?
There are many other varieties of wonderful cured meats from Italy, each particular to their location and climate and, most importantly, singular in how they are passed down from generation to generation. Salumi are a historical delight in every bite to those who truly appreciate these epicurean masterpieces…and they’re coming to our table.
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Photo from iStock/DENIO RIGACCI