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.
The salami is made from prime quality pork which is minced into rather coarse grounds using a template with a 12-millimetre bore. The minced pork is then stuffed into a casing made of pig entrails which have been pierced to allow the insertion of the meat and then tied up again with thick cord. The sausages are categorised by weight as follows:
Filzetta (weight from 0.5 to 0.7 kilos, minimum ageing 45 days); Filzettone (from 0.7 to 1 kilo, minimum ageing 60 days); Sottocrespone a budello semplice (from 1 to 2 kilos, minimum ageing 120 days); Cucito a budello doppio (from 1 to 2 kilos and more, minimum ageing 180 days).
The salami must slice easily to reveal a bright red meat of compact texture. The fat must be perfectly white in color and in the right proportion with respect to the meat. The taste is sweet and delicate; the aroma, which will be influenced also by the length of ageing, fragrant and distinctive. The certificate of designation of origin is reserved for salami produced in all stages, from the selection of the meat to the termination of the ageing process, within a delimited production zone that encompasses numerous town districts in the province of Pavia.
The lean meat of high quality, are chopped by hand rather coarse grained. They are then stuffed into animal intestines, traditionally cresponetto.
a) Raw material: first choice of pork (shoulder, thigh fillet), fat-bodied, sometimes (against the rules) beef. If the dough is covering all the noble parts of the pig, the quality is obviously better.
b) Technological: salt, pepper, infused with old-bodied wine, garlic, nutmeg and other herbs.
c) Additives: saltpeter and powder milk.
Approximately ten days in the kitchen heated, more than ninety days in the attic ventilated and heated.
Six to seven months in a wet basement, preferably under ground.
Province of Pavia, Valversa and the Apennines on the borders with Liguria to Ponte Nizza in Valle Staffora.
Source: Atlas of typical Italian products, Insor, 1989-1995