Friday, 15. May 2015

Summer Means Salami!

The salami is an Italian specialty sausage that has a long tradition in Austria.The complicated manufacturing process of this sausage and its delicious flavor have given it a reputation for being one of the best sausages available. 

The salami was probably first introduced to Austria in the 18th century, but its present name was first produced in the 19th century in Germany. The term comes from Italian, referencing the country where the Salami was invented. Salami is actually the Italian name for several salame, and is the plural of the word.

Italian immigrants, the so-called "Salamutschi" (salami-sellers), brought the sausage to Austria during the course of an immigration wave. Here in Austria,. they earned their living by selling salami and cheese in wine taverns, as well as on the streets and squares. To demonstrate the excellent quality of their product, the "Salamutschi-Men", the Salamis, cut their wares into slices in front of their potential buyers.

The salami was invented in Italy out of necessity to make meat durable without refrigeration. Previously, these sausages were made only from October to March  due to technological and hygienic reasons. It could only be produced if the season was cold enough. Sausage makers selected bacon and pork for the raw material and then chilled the meat before selling. Sometimes it was even desirable for the bacon to still be slightly frozen. This phenomenon was called "crystallizing the bacon".

Salami is made of fat, meat, salt and peter, salt and spices. The cold, partially frozen meat is mince, then flavored and packaged. In Austria, the meat is often cold smoked during salami production. The Italian tradition is to mainly air-dry the meat. There salamis are sold both with and without a fine covering of mold. This occurs either through the natural maturation or is applied artificially. Thereafter, the sausage is subjected to a longer drying process. This process takes between 8 to 14 weeks, or between 4 to 8 weeks if the meat is not covered.

Salami is known for its complicated production process. In this process, old know-how and modern, excellent expertise are combined. The salami still requires special care and maintenance during maturation though.