BeanScene Magazine

Significant sopressa

From the May 2015 issue.
Significant sopressa

It might look similar to regular salami, but sopressa does have some distinct differences. Made using top quality cuts of pork, including the thigh, it has a delightful taste that is sure to keep people coming back for more.

Sopressa is an aged variety of salami traditionally made using only pork meat, combined with lard derived from the throat of the pig, along with other flavourings.

The shape ranges from cylindrical to oblong and the product is usually larger than typical salami. To create an oblong shape in the old fashioned way, a plank of wood is placed on top of the sopressa with some weights to flatten out the shape slightly. This process takes approximately one week.

The word sopressa is derived from pressare, Italian for ‘to press’, as sopressa is pressed by hand to ensure there are no air pockets.

To make sopressa, the initial step is to coarsely grind the meat. It is then combined with salt, pepper and various spices, which differ depending on each area’s or each family’s own special recipes. Commonly used spices include rosemary, cinnamon and cloves. Sometimes wine or garlic is also included. The mixture is then encases inside intestines and left to dry and age. The ageing time required differs depending on the product’s size. Humidity and temperature are important elements of the drying process.

As a result, many producers now age sopressa in special temperature-controlled rooms.

Sopressa is typical of north-eastern Italy, particularly Veneto. Southern Italian regions including Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia and Calabria make a similar variety to this salami product, called sopressata.

In Italy, Sopressa Vicentina DOP is perhaps the most famous variety. It bears the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP), meaning its production is governed by law.

Sopressa Vicentina DOP is produced exclusively in the Vicenza province of Veneto, due to its ideal geographical and climatic conditions. By confining production to this specific area, the end product has a unique flavour. In addition, it can only be made from pigs of three specified breeds – Large White, Landrace and Duroc – which must be at least nine months and weigh over 130 kilograms. Regulations also stipulate that the pigs must be born, bred and slaughtered in Vicenza to be suitable for use in the production of this coveted product.

In the south of Italy, Sopressata di Calabria DOP is also very revered. Its key point of difference to sopressa from the north is that it is flavoured using black pepper or chilli. Although pigs may be born in the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Sicily, Puglia and Campania, the slaughtering and processing phases must take place within Calabria.

In Australia, many salumi producers have added sopressa to their portfolios, to the delight of many customers. Each producer has their own unique recipe for this product, and often this is closely guarded. Sopressa is available in both mild and hot varieties.

Try it on its own, as part of an antipasto platter, in a panini or on top of a pizza.

Australian producers
Bertocchi Smallgoods, Borgo Salumi, Casalingo Smallgoods, Del Basso Smallgoods, Delitalia, D'Orsogna, Fabbris Smallgoods, Montecatini Smallgoods, Nino Smallgoods, Primo Smallgoods, Princi Smallgoods, Rossi’s Smallgoods, Salumi Australia and Tibaldi

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