Bresaola in the USA – Be careful!

Bresaola is a great product of the mountains of Lombardia, of the province of Sondrio. Here you find a description.

Original Bresaola della Valtellina is NOT available in the USA. Outdated regulations still prevent its importation from the province of Sondrio, Italy, where it is made and perfected.

Even in this case, you can find very good bresaola, made in Uruguay, or with meat from Uruguay, usually by mountain pastors that emigrated from Valtellina to South America several decades ago searching for better pastures to breed cows and settled in Uruguay and Brazil.

They are now providing beef meat to the Italian manufacturers of bresaola in Sondrio and manufacture their bresaola.

Where and how to buy bresaola in the USA

Bresaola is available in specialty Italian stores, and they slice it for you when you buy it. Be careful: it’s not a product in high demand and could be sitting for months on the shelves, making its taste bitter.

A better choice is buying a pre-packaged confection such as the one sold by Citterio and available at the store or online at Wegmans, among other chain stores. Experienced people do the slicing at a central location, and the packaging is in a nitrogen neutralized atmosphere that guarantees freshness until you open the package. One of the problems with small stores slicing the whole product for you – being bresaola, prosciutto, or salami, is that in the USA, there are few store clerks able to cut the products properly. So other companies prepare and sell bresaola in a similar way.

Should you be ordering online from Wegmans, be careful to specify “no substitutes” in your order for bresaola. Once I did not, I received a lower quality anonymous product, not wrong, but not as good as the original I expected.

Other online sellers of presliced bresaola include Brooklyn Cured, Marky’s, and Gourmet Food Store. Unfortunately, I can’t testify about the quality of this bresaola because I never tasted them. Salumeria Italiana in Boston instead slices the bresaola for you at the moment when you place your order and ship it 2-day air in one-pound packages.

How to best enjoy bresaola in the USA

Bresaola is the best way to enjoy the taste of a beautiful extra virgin olive oil. Don’t spare on the quality of the oil you are using; exceptional flavors will reveal when you will eat a simple dish of bresaola with lemon and olive oil. I used Vicopisano Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the photo above; it’s available at a reasonable price in North America from Gustiamo.com.

The drying process in the cold air coming to Valtellina from Switzerland across the Alps

The drying process in mountain locations in Valtellina, generally at 1,000 meters high sites, is what makes generic bresaola “Bresaola della Valtellina.”

Bresaola produced elsewhere can be equally good, but it usually lacks the special taste.

Bresaola della Valtellina P.G.I. – The regulations governing its manufacturing

From 1996 the original Bresaola della Valtellina is a product guaranteed by the PGI community trademark, exclusively used by certified producers of Provincia di Sondrio that strictly follow the disciplinary code of production.
Consorzio di Tutela Bresaola della Valtellina guarantees the origin of this tasteful product, promotes the original trademark, and protects it from imitations and falsifications.

Production Regulations for the “Bresaola della Valtellina” Protected Geographical Indication.

Art. 3 | Raw materials
“Bresaola della Valtellina” is produced exclusively from meat obtained from cattle between 18 months and four years of age. “Bresaola della Valtellina”, in its different cuts, is obtained starting from boneless bovine thighs and, more specifically, from the following meat cuts and muscles:

  •  Topside
    which corresponds to the posteromedial portion of the thigh muscles and includes the internal rectus, the adductor, and semimembranosus muscles;
  •  Topside Without Cap
    which corresponds to the topside without the adductor muscle;
  • Silverside
    which corresponds to the posterolateral portion of the thigh, the muscle involved is the vastus longuus;
  • Eye round
    which corresponds to the posterolateral portion of the thigh muscles, the muscle involved is the semitendinosus muscle;
  • Knuckle
    which corresponds to the front of the thigh and is composed of the rectus, the vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius muscles.

Only top-quality, safe and controlled meat, chosen all around the world as an excellent product

For Bresaola della Valtellina PGI, certified producers select and use the best bovine meat, a top-quality choice that makes it a unique product in the world and one of the Italian excellence products. Credit goes to the experience acquired over a centuries-old tradition and to the safety guaranteed by the PGI Regulations.

Only top-category cuts are used for the production of Bresaola della Valtellina PGI. The selected cuts are highly valuable and tender, and they are only cut from the beef round of selected breeds of cattle – preferably free-range cattle fed with selected feeds – of 18 months to 4 years of age, as outlined in the Regulations (therefore excluding cow meat, which is dark and does not reach the required level of consistency).

It is a top-quality choice because all these factors – cattle breed and age, breeding system and feeds, choice of high-value cuts of the beef round (such as topside without cup) – contribute to ensuring better meat, both in terms of organoleptic characteristics (e.g. for consistency, tenderness, taste, color, leanness, and absence of nerves), and of nutritional properties (e.g. for a lower fat content).

Producers joining the Consortium mainly use meat from European and South American farms, where breeding systems and supervision of all phases of the supply chain guarantee a raw material that meets the high-quality standards required for the production of Bresaola della Valtellina PGI. The best bovine breeds are used to obtain lean and high-consistency cuts according to the Regulations and the centuries-old tradition. Among European breeds, we favor Charolaise, Limousine, Blonde d’Aquitaine and Garonnesi. Among Italian breeds, the Piedmontese.
Pure zebu breeds come from South America. Among them, the Zebu Nellore is outstanding for its very lean meat. As a result, it is the most common breed in large Brazilian farms. But, then, there are the Zebu Guzerat and the Brahman, accounting for a minimum of South American cattle.

PGI is the guarantee of a product that is controlled and verified throughout its processing. During the processing of Bresaola della Valtellina PGI, numerous checks are performed on the various steps of the supply chain to guarantee consumers a safe and top-quality product. Furthermore, a third-party inspection body verifies compliance with the Production Regulations (CSQA Certificazioni), authorized by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies. Therefore, when we taste Bresaola della Valtellina PGI, we know that it is the result of the best choice of raw materials, guaranteed by full traceability of the production chain and a processing protocol approved by the supervisory authority. Furthermore, its implementation is verified by a third-party certification body.

Italian salami MADE IN THE USA!

Italian salami made in the USA – The history

The salami that tastes as it came from the old country made the old way. And in a way, it did, via San Francisco. That’s where producers make some of the best Italian salami sold in America.

A curious war made San Francisco the salami capital of America. From 1967 until 1970, a band of six determined Bay Area sausage makers argued to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they deserved the right to not only use Italian methods but to call their product “Italian salami.” They were direct descendants of salami makers of Milan, Lucca, Parma, and Modena. Around the turn of the last century, they had settled in a city whose temperate climate might be the only one in the United States perfectly suited for dry-curing salami. They even had the right strain of penicillin mold to give the links a classic white bloom.

Sure, the Italian Americans wanted to keep a corner of meat processing to themselves, to prevent producers of cooked meat and fast-cured imitations from using the term. But at the heart of the argument was a pleasure.

The San Franciscans were intent on saving a revered delicacy from a fate worse than nonsense. Italian salami, they contended, is a food every bit as noble as cheese or wine. Looking back, it seems evident that the Bay Area salami makers were Slow Foodists of their day. At the heart of their argument, they insisted that real salami could not achieve quickly, or by cooking the sausages like hot dogs, or in a short hanging period, or by spiking the meat with unique flavorings.

In letter after letter to bleary USDA officials, they outlined the echt way to make it, the way, more or less, Italians had made it since the 5th century BC. Salami must consist mainly of pork and fat, they said. This pork should come from the shoulder (haunches go-to ham), with large chunks of fat that won’t melt. This meat must be chopped, never pureed like a hot dog emulsion. It could be combined with wine, garlic, pepper, curing salts, maybe a touch of mace.

They used a lactic acid starter to start a slow fermentation that would dry-cook the product. Dried milk was permissible as a binding agent between the meat and fat. They could then pack the meat into either cellulose or pork-gut casing. These sausages were then hung, first in drip rooms, then in aging rooms, for weeks, or months, depending on the chub’s size.

They stressed that the optimum range of curing temperatures was the same as San Francisco’s temperate climate. As the salami dried, the links fermented, and a change in acidity effectively cooked the meat and produced the complex spectrum of flavors. As this happened, the sausages would also dry. The meat would lose roughly 30% of its water weight. A penicillin mold would form on the coat, checking the meat’s exposure to air, thus stopping oxidation and preventing rancid flavors.

To press their case, the San Franciscans hired a lawyer. They formed something called the Dry Salami Institute. They prepared detailed family histories, paraded ribbons from salami competitions in Rome, and bombarded bureaucrats with long letters with even longer appendixes to the utter authenticity of their every salami-stuffing step. And, reader, they prevailed. Find the words “Italian salami” or “Italian Dry Salami” on a California chub, and you are guaranteed food that at least tries to hold its own in Italy.

Today the same Californian producers successfully lobby to maintain the prehistoric, archaic FDA regulations against import of original “made in Italy” salami. They joined in the effort by big Italian salami producers that have opened up factories in the USA to circumvent the FDA rules and deliver a “mass-market” product to the American supermarkets.

Finally, the real stuff is coming to the USA!

From 2014 on, the United States opened the frontiers of semi-manufactured salami made in Italy, such as salami, bacon, cups, and culatelli. The freeway has come from the Aphis (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) authorities that have officially recognized the Lombard, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piedmont regions, as well as the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, free from swine vesicular disease.

Check that the product you are buying has the text “Product of Italy.”

Parma Salame di Felino DOP – Parma Salami Felino DOP

Salami Felino DOP – Lungoleno CC BY-SA 4.0

Veroni sells online the only Original Salami Felino D.O.P. in the USA!

Since 1925, the Veroni family has been handcrafting salami in the northern hills of Italy. Four generations have upheld the same original recipes of gourmet mortadella, artisanally roasted hams, and slowly aged salami!

Many US companies have tried to replicate the King of Salami, but now we can have the real Felino D.O.P. from Parma by Veroni!

14 ounce (397 gram) – WEIGHT APPROXIMATES

Ingredients: Pork, sea salt, sugar, black pepper,
Packaging: Vacuum-sealed Plastic
Region: Parma
Product of Italy

Bringing Italian Salami while traveling from Italy

Cured hams (prosciutto, Serrano ham, Iberian ham) and salami from areas within France, Germany, Italy, and Spain may not be brought into the United States by travelers. These items may only enter commercial shipments because special restrictions are requiring additional certification and documentation.

Italian salami made in the USA – The history

The salami that tastes as it came from the old country made the old way. And in a way, it did, via San Francisco. That’s where producers make some of the best Italian salami sold in America.

A curious war made San Francisco the salami capital of America. From 1967 until 1970, a band of six determined Bay Area sausage makers argued to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they deserved the right to not only use Italian methods but to call their product “Italian salami.” They were direct descendants of salami makers of Milan, Lucca, Parma, and Modena. Around the turn of the last century, they had settled in a city whose temperate climate might be the only one in the United States perfectly suited for dry-curing salami. They even had the right strain of penicillin mold to give the links a classic white bloom.

Sure, the Italian Americans wanted to keep a corner of meat processing to themselves to prevent producers of cooked meat and fast-cured imitations from using the term. But at the heart of the argument was a pleasure.

The San Franciscans were intent on saving a revered delicacy from a fate worse than nonsense. Italian salami, they contended, is a food every bit as noble as cheese or wine. Looking back, it seems evident that the Bay Area salami makers were Slow Foodists of their day. At the heart of their argument, they insisted that authentic salami could not achieve quickly, cooking sausages like hot dogs, or in a short hanging period, or by spiking the meat with unique flavorings.

In letter after letter to bleary USDA officials, they outlined the echt way to make it, the way, more or less, Italians had made it since the 5th century BC. Salami must consist mainly of pork and fat, they said. This pork should come from the shoulder (haunches go-to ham), with large chunks of fat that won’t melt. This meat must be chopped, never pureed like a hot dog emulsion. It could be combined with wine, garlic, pepper, curing salts, maybe a touch of mace.

They used a lactic acid starter to start a slow fermentation that would dry-cook the product. Dried milk was permissible as a binding agent between the meat and fat. They could then pack the meat into either cellulose or pork-gut casing. These sausages were then hung, first in drip rooms, then in aging rooms, for weeks, or months, depending on the chub’s size.

They stressed that the optimum range of curing temperatures was the same as San Francisco’s temperate climate. As the salami dried, the links fermented, and a change in acidity effectively cooked the meat and produced the complex spectrum of flavors. As this happened, the sausages would also dry. The meat would lose roughly 30% of its water weight. A penicillin mold would form on the coat, checking the meat’s exposure to air, thus stopping oxidation and preventing rancid flavors.

To press their case, the San Franciscans hired a lawyer. They formed something called the Dry Salami Institute. They prepared detailed family histories, paraded ribbons from salami competitions in Rome, and bombarded bureaucrats with long letters with even longer appendixes to the utter authenticity of their every salami-stuffing step. And, reader, they prevailed. Find the words “Italian salami” or “Italian Dry Salami” on a California chub, and you are guaranteed food that at least tries to hold its own in Italy.

Today the same Californian producers successfully lobby to maintain the prehistoric, archaic FDA regulations against the import of original “made in Italy” salami. They joined in the effort by big Italian salami producers that have opened up factories in the USA to circumvent the FDA rules and deliver a “mass-market” product to the American supermarkets.

Finally, the real stuff is coming to the USA!

From 2014 on, the United States opened the frontiers of semi-manufactured salami made in Italy, such as salami, bacon, cups, and culatelli. The freeway has come from the Aphis (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) authorities that have officially recognized the Lombard, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piedmont regions and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, free from swine vesicular disease.

Check that the product you are buying has the text “Product of Italy.”

Italian Salsiccia – Homemade salciccia

Photo and recipe from Joshua Gross

Ingredients

5.5 lb organic pork neck (25-30% fat)
Four tbs sea salt
Two tbs black pepper
Three tbs paprika
Two tbs garlic powder
Two tbs fennel seeds crushed slightly
Four tbs dried chili flakes
One tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

How to make Italian Salsiccia – Homemade salciccia

Grind with the corset die and stuff as directed.
Allow resting uncovered in the fridge for 24-72 hours.
Grill, eat and freeze the rest.
If you want to hang to dry, you have to add pink salt (nitrates). I never do.

books-on-italy.com

books-on-italy.com

books-on-italy.com