Salumi vs. Charcuterie: Understanding the Difference Between

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The world of preserved meat is a fascinating one, with a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Within this world, two terms that are often used interchangeably are “salumi” and “charcuterie.” However, despite their similarities, they are not the same thing. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of salumi vs. charcuterie, exploring their origins, definitions, and differences.

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the differences between salami and charcuterie

Charcuterie: A French Tradition

Charcuterie is a French term that refers to a variety of preserved meat products. Literally translated it comes from two words: “chair” meaning “flesh” and “cuite” meaning “cooked.”

It is part of a culinary tradition that began in France, but has since spread all over the world. Charcuterie products are typically made from pork, but can also be made with beef, poultry, or game meats. These meats are processed and preserved using a range of techniques, including smoking, curing, and fermentation.

Charcuterie became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when there were no refrigerators and people used every last bit of the animals they killed.

Traditional charcuterie meats are formed using many different pieces of the animals and then cured in various ways.

Today, charcuterie boards are a common sight at parties, events, and restaurants.

Charcuterie boards are all over social media, can be found at every mom’s night meetup, and grace most family get-togethers.

They are typically made up of an assortment of meats, cheeses, bread, and other accompaniments like grapes or dried fruits. Charcuterie boards have become so popular that everyone is putting their own spin on them and making new versions of “charcuterie boards…” whether those include actual charcuterie meats of not.

Safe to say, these days charcuterie boards are all the rage!

RELATED: Epoxy Charcuterie Boards… the Ultimate Show-Stopper

Salumi: An Italian Tradition

You may have recently heard of something new to you called “salumi” and heard it compared to charcuterie. Or maybe it’s not so new to you and you (like most) use the two terms interchangably. While similar, they aren’t the same thing.

Salumi is an Italian term that refers to a very specific type of cured meat product. While similar to charcuterie, salumi is distinctly Italian. The term “salumi” refers to a variety of meats, including prosciutto, salami, and pancetta.

Salumi is typically made from pork, but can also be made with beef or wild boar.

The meat is either dry-cured or salt-cured and seasoned with various spices, while charcuterie can be made in a variety of ways.

Salumi products are a staple of Italian cuisine and are often enjoyed as an antipasto or as a topping on pizza.

So is salami a type of salumi? Yup.

And is salumi basically Italian charcuterie? More or less, yes, as they both refer to the curing of meat (mainly pork) rather than the extravagent displays of snacks we refer to as charcuterie boards.

Similarities and Differences of Salumi and Charcuterie

While both salumi and charcuterie are preserved meat products, there are some key differences between the two.

  • Charcuterie includes a broader range of meat products than salumi, including pâtés and terrines.
  • Charcuterie products are also often smoked or cured in different ways, while salumi is typically dry-cured or salt-cured.
  • Salumi is Italian and Charcuterie is French.

Despite their differences, both salumi and charcuterie share some similarities.

  • Both are often served as part of a charcuterie board or antipasti platter.
  • They are also both traditionally made using simple ingredients and techniques, relying on time and natural processes to cure and preserve the meat.
  • They both specifically refer to cured meats.

Wrapping Up Salumi vs. Charcuterie

Charcuterie: according to The Herbsts in Food Lover’s Companion “refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines, crépinettes, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie.”

While salumi is defined by Wikipedia as: Salumi (singular salume) are Italian meat products typical of an antipasto, predominantly made from pork and cured. Salumi also include bresaola, which is made from beef, and some cooked products, such as mortadella and prosciutto cotto.

In conclusion, while salumi and charcuterie may seem like interchangeable terms, they are not the same thing.

Charcuterie refers to a range of preserved meat products that originate from France, while salumi refers specifically to Italian cured meats. Charcuterie also now refers to the spread and pairings that accompany a presentation of preserved meats as well as the delicatessens you can buy them and their pairings at.

Despite their differences, both are staple foods that have a rich culinary history.

Whether enjoyed on their own or as part of a board, both salumi and charcuterie offer unique flavors and a taste of tradition.

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