Salame Felino is a pure pork salame from Felino, a small town located in the green Baganza valley, full of forests where herds of pigs were raised in an ancient past. The word salame comes from the Latin root for salt, or “als”, which later became “sal”. This special aged sausage has been produced for centuries, along with Prosciutto Crudo di Parma. Salame Felino is made according to the ancient art of salame-making and distinguishing it from other pork products made in the hills of the nearby Apennine Mountains. In fact, inside the Baptistery of Parma, Benedetto Antelami depicted this fine art in his bas-relief of the zodiac sign of Aquarius dating back to the 12th century.
This special salume is the product of the best pork meat and the particular microclimate of the area of production, allowing it to be aged naturally due to the ideal temperature and right amount of humidity and ventilation. The fresh meat used to make the salame is carefully selected from deboned shoulder and belly that is ground with lean and fat cuts of ham. The meat is mixed with salt, spices and natural aromas. The salame should contain 25-30% fat and hard fat is preferred.
After the meat is coarsely ground, salt, whole peppercorns and white wine are added. The salame is then stuffed by hand into a pork casing, which gives it its characteristic uneven width. It is then aged slowly and the final product should be soft, with a sweet taste and delicate aroma.
In the pre-Roman, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance periods, it was consumed cooked – like Ferrara salame still is today. (Antelami depicted the salame in a pot and the cook of the Farnese court, Carlo Nascia, included the cooked version at two banquets.) Since the second half of the 18th century, however, it appeared as a raw product, cut into thin slices. (The raw salame first appeared in a still life painting of Giacomo Nani, 1701-1770, a Neapolitan artist.)
Traditionally, it should be cut at a 60° angle to highlight the grain of the ground meat and to avoid any crumbling of the meat should it be eaten raw. Currently, Salame Felino is in the process of becoming an IGP (Protected Geographic Indication) product of the European Union.
In the library
A. TACCA, Una fetta … di vita: biografia del salame di Felino, Sala Baganza, Tipolitotecnica, 1992.
G. BALLARINI, Il salame di Felino; prodotto tipico dell'industria e dell'artigianato alimentare parmense; storia delle origini: un salame di antico lignaggio, antica tecnologia di preparazione, gastronomia del salame di Felino, Parma, Tecnografica, 1995.
L. ROMANELLI, I salumi d'Italia, Firenze, Nardini, 2002.