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 Outdated regulations still prevent its importation from the province of Sondrio, Italy, where it is made and perfected.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.

Lombardia – Lombardy Salami

They include fresh or cured, cooked or raw sausages, salami, goose cracklings, or pork, a variety of fruit flavors of an old Lombard tradition of meat processing.

There are eight charcuterie DOP (PDO) and IGP (PGI) in Lombardy, but in addition to the traditional ones, there are over 60 which may have at least 25 years of manufacturing history behind them…

Typical salami from Lombardia include:

Bastardei

Beef and pork

The Bastardei sausages are beef and pork in natural casing.

Borzat

sheep

Borzat is a delicate cured meat made up of sheepskin sacks filled with the same animal’s meat and fat.

Bresaola affumicata

Beef

A staple food of smugglers during their “missions,” smoked Bresaola is a variation of the more famous Bresaola obtained from the beef shoulder or haunch, which goes through a smoking process.

Bresaola of Valtellina IGP DOP

Beef

Bresaola della Valtellina takes its name from the famous Valtellina geographical district in which it was first produced. Bresaola is made from raw beef that has been salted and naturally aged.

Bresaola di Cervo

Venison

Intensely red Bresaola, firm and slightly sweet.

Cacciatorini DOP

Pork Salami

Cacciatorini sausages are famous for their characteristic taste and small size, which is quickly seasoned and can always be consumed fresh since gulped one at a time. Moreover, this sausage’s name derives precisely from the widespread rural use of hunters who used to bring short links with them in their excursions because, considering their reduced size, they could place them easily in their sacks.

Coppa ciochetùna

Pork Salami

Lombardy Pork Cremona’s famous pork sausage, typically boiled and served with lentils to ring in the New Year; artisanal producers still flavor the forcemeat with vanilla. This rich sausage needs to be slowly simmered for hours.

Cotechino

Pork Salami

Lombardy Pork Cremona’s famous pork sausage, typically boiled and served with lentils to ring in the New Year; artisanal producers still flavor the forcemeat with vanilla. This fatty sausage needs to be slowly simmered for hours.

Cotechino bianco

Pork Salami

Typical Product Valchiavenna and Valtellina (Sondrio). To be consumed after cooking raw sausage composed of pork rind and minced spiced, stuffed into beef casings.

Cotechino Cremonese vaniglia

Pork Salami

A typical product of the province of Cremona, the attribute refers to the dough’s vanilla sweetness and not the presence of this aroma.

Cotechino della Bergamasca

Pork Salami

Fresh raw sausage, made with pork, typical of Bergamo’s province, comes in a cylindrical shape, slightly curved, diameter 40 to 44 mm, bound with twine, mainly deep red color with white parts of the visible fat.

Cotechino di carni miste

Horse or Beef plus Pork

Salami to consume cooked, consisting of lean cuts of horse meat or beef, with pork’s possible addition in varying percentages, pork fat, usually bacon or pancetta, pork rinds crushed grain mixed with media and then adding salt, pepper, and other spices.

Cotechino Mantovano alla vaniglia

Pork Salami

A typical product of the province of Mantua made with lean pork sausage meat, fat, and rind hard to consume after cooking.

Cotechino Pavese

Pork Salami

Pavia’s province’s typical product is a lean pork sausage meat, fat and rinds hard, to consume after cooking.

Cotecotto

Pork Salami

Sold pre-cooked sausage made from a mixture of lean cuts of pork, less frequently equine or bovine, fatty amounts of pork rind and minced, seasoned with salt, herbs, and other ingredients vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, sausages in the natural casing.

Cuz

Sheep

Sheep flesh preserved in its own fat, Cuz is one of the typical specialties of Corteno Golgi’s municipality, in the province of Brescia.

Fegato grasso d’oca

Goose

Goose foie gras is made from 6-month old adult free-range geese, or more often with battery-raised geese, fed on forage and maize and ready in just two months.

Fiocco Prosciutto crudo

Pork Salami

Raw Ham ‘Fiocco’ is produced in Valtellina, smoked boneless ham, characterized by square and regular shape.

Greppole

Pork

Greppole are made from pork fat which is melted, fried and then flavored.

Luganiga

Pork Salami

Also known in Italy as luganega luganiga (when it comes in a natural or synthetic casing), salsisa, groppino, it comes from the Lombardy Region area. It is made from minced pork offcuts, eaten fresh after cooking, denervated lean and fat pork, pink fat, lard, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, musk, rose wine, sugar, saffron, pine nuts, raisins.

Mortadella di Fegato

Pork Salami

Liver mortadella: pork sausage with medium to long maturation time that is eaten raw or boiled.

Mortadella di Fegato al vin brule’

Pork Salami

Also known in Italy as Mortadela de fidig or Mortadell de fidich
Lombardy Region: pork sausage with short maturation time, eaten cooked.
Ingredients: pig’s liver. Pork, the belly of pork, vin Brule’, cloves, salt, spices, saltpeter.
Form: finely minced sausage in a natural casing.

Mortadella di Fegato della Valtellina

Pork Salami

This specialty of Valtellina bears a distant similarity to the ‘mazzafegati’ (pork sausage made with orange peel, pine nuts, and raisins) of the Abruzzo and Molise regions.

Pancetta

Pork Salami

Fatty meat from the pig’s belly, shaped in rectangles or coiled, is essentially un-smoked bacon; it is served raw as an antipasto or cooked in numerous dishes.

Pancetta pavese

Pork Salami

Also called Panséta, the Pancetta Pavese is a typical salami of the province of Pavia obtained by salting and maturation of the fat layer located in the ventral part of the half-pig.

Prosciutto Cotto

Pork Salami

Baked ham; large thighs are de-boned, cured in a salt brine, massaged, baked, and marketed without fixing. The sausage, obtained from a pig’s boned leg and then injected with an appropriate brine and aromatic solution, is massaged in tanks and placed in molds.

Salame Brianza DOP

Pork Salami

It’s a spiced pork salami. Salami-making in the region of Lombardy dates back to the days of the Lombards. Still, the practice was given a fresh impulse by monastic orders that, partly for medicinal and therapeutic reasons, encouraged pork butchering.

Salame di capra

Goat Salami

Obtained by using selected parts of the goat (leg and shoulder), deprived of fat and nerve tissues. Typical of Valcamonica.

Salame di Cremona all’aglio IGP

Pork Salami

Salami made from prized cuts of pork, belly fat, salt, crushed garlic, and red wine; aged six months. It comes from the Cremona lowlands, particularly Soresina, Pizzighettone, and Vescovato (CR). It is a pork sausage eaten raw after medium to long maturation, made with veined pork; salt, peppercorns, red wine, garlic, natural aromas.

Salame di Filzetta

Pork Salami

This salame comes from the province of Cremona, a pork sausage, matured for a medium to long period and eaten raw. Ingredients: pork taken from the area between the loins and the neck, peppercorns, natural aromas at producer’s discretion, saltpeter (optional).

Salame di Mantova

Pork Salami

Salami made from coarsely ground or knife-cut pork shoulder and belly mixed with trimmings from Prosciutto-making and white wine; aged three months and perfect for the grill.

Salame di Montisola

Pork Salami

Salame Montisola is traditionally produced in Monte Isola’s municipality, on Lake Iseo in the Province of Brescia.

Salame di S.Benedetto Po sotto la cenere

Pork Salami

Produced traditionally in San Benedetto Po, province of Mantua, salami under the ashes is a raw sausage made with pork, cooked on the embers. It looks like cylinder size and weight variables, linked to string with an outer surface of gray.

Salame alle Rape

Pork Salami

The salami includes pork fat, cooked cabbage, and turnips, a Livigno specialty, where the altitude forbids anything but turnip cultivation.

Salame di Varzi  DOP

Pork Salami

The origins of Salame di Varzi go back to the time of the Lombard invasion. The custom of eating pork became established precisely in those areas that the Lombards conquered. In the twelfth century, Salame di Varzi was a much-cherished delicacy for the Malaspina marquis, feudal lords of the area, who made it for their own family.

Salame d’Oca di Mortara IGP

Goose and pork

Goose salami is a specialty of Lomellina, an area in the province of Pavia, in Lombardy, which is delimited by the rivers Po, Ticino, and Sesia. Thanks to the abundance of grazing herbs and freshwater springs, goose farming has been practiced in this area since ancient times. The town of Mortara, which gives its name to the local salami, is the historical and geographical center of this territory.

Salame Milano (Milan Salami)

Pork and beef

The fat and lean parts are first refrigerated to harden them and are then passed under the cutter before they are minced and then mixed. This finely minced mixture is then stuffed into a stitched natural pig’s intestine casing. The salami is then strung tightly together.

Salsiccia di Castrato

Mutton

Rare sausage from the Valcamonica.

Salumi equini della Valchiavenna

Horse

The most famous is the “slinzegha,” obtained with cuts of horse meat processed for dry salting vats originally in beech or oak, now in stainless steel for reasons of hygiene

Slinzega bovina

Beef

Beef Slinzega is whole aged beef, typical of the province of Sondrio.

Slinzega di cavallo

Horse

The slinzegha is nothing but a little dried beef, packed with clippings from the advanced machining hamstrings with whom he made the classic bresaola

Soppressata Bresciana

Pork Salami

The lean pork is marinated, ground, and bagged, adding a whole piece of glass or capocollo, using a relatively large intestine or the bladder.

Spalla Cotta di San Secondo

Pork Salami

The cured pork shoulder Giuseppe Verdi loved, aged from 2 to 3 months, smoked or unsmoked, today also made in Cremona’s province.

Strinu’

Beef and pork

Sausage flavored with wine, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper; made in the Valcamonica.

Verzini

Pork Salami

Also known in Italy as verzin, salamella fresca, come from the area of the Lombardy Region. They are fresh all-pork sausage cooked before being eaten. A mixture of lean and fat cuts (shoulder, belly, minced neck, minced ham) minced in a mincer and molded into shape by a machine.

Violino di capra della Valchiavenna

Sheep, goat, or chamois

The name derives from the shape from the distinctive way of holding it for slicing. It is placed on the arm like a violin and sliced thinly using the knife as a bow.

Violino della Valcamonica

lamb, goat, or chamois

It‘s a leg of ham made from goat, lamb, deer, or chamois. The name derives from the shape from the distinctive way of holding it for slicing. It is placed on the arm like a violin and sliced thinly using the knife as a bow.

Violino di capra

goat

The name derives from the shape from the distinctive way of holding it for slicing. It is placed on the arm like a violin and sliced thinly using the knife as a bow.

Violino di capra del Luinese

goat

A traditional product of the valleys of Luino (Varese) is ham made from goat’s leg and aged at least 60 days.

Recipe Bresaola Della Valtellina

Ingredients

200 g bresaola
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon

How to make the Bresaola:

Put the bresaola thin slices on a plate sprinkling olive oil and lemon between the slices. Let it cure for 15 minutes and serve.

Serves 4

Regional Recipe from Lombardy

Beef Bresaola  Product Description

Makers of Bresaola still use age-old meat preparation techniques. This famed specialty from the Lombardy region of Italy, where it is typically eaten raw. Bresaola is salted and air-dried meat made from the tenderloin or fillet. It has a very dark red color and is sliced thinly with olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper.

Bresaola and charcuterie:
Charcuterie is typical of Contado di Chiavenna, and Bresaola (cured raw beef), or Brisaola in the local dialect, is the best known local product. Recognized by the Protected Geographical Indication, it has been renowned in Valchiavenna since 1400.
Its name derives from the word brasa or brace, meaning embers used for drying the meat; hence the name brasa-saola, shortened to Bresaola.
Bresaola contains only beef (top-round) between two and four years old. The muscular mass is trimmed and dry-cured; drying takes an average of a week, and the meat has to dehydrate rapidly during the first days of treatment. It has a delicate and slightly aromatic flavor and a pleasant taste, moderately salty and never acidic. The finished product is cylindrical.
One of the most famous products of Valtellina is Slinzega, made from cuts of horsemeat cured with a dry salting method. The salt mixture contains bay, juniper, garlic, and pepper, and the meat is sometimes bathed in wine. Cut into fine slices; people eat Slinzega as an appetizer or a simple, unseasoned snack.
Violino’s name derives from the way it is held for cutting rather than the shape itself: you hold the meat like a violin and the knife like a bow. The ham, made from the haunch of a goat or a sheep, often also roe-deer, and chamois is a specialty of Valle Spluga. Local artisans produce it and sell it in local shops or a few city stores.
The Cotecotto and Prosciutto di Gallivaggio are also worth a mention.
Valtellina’s charcuterie culture revolves around crotti, which are natural cavities in the rocks formed by significant landslides. A breeze of air called the sorel blows up from these cavities’ depths, which inhabitants use for conserving charcuterie, bresaola, and wine.
For more information, contact the Consorzio Tutela del Nome Bresaola della Valtellina
Text Courtesy of www.valtellinasapori.it

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