Valtellina (Sondrio), Lombardy
Beef Slinzega is whole aged beef, typical of the province of Sondrio.
It comes from the leg and in particular from the topside or rump, covering the tenderloin. It is smaller than bresaola and is seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, pepper, garlic, bay leaf and steeped in red wine.
Slinzega or Slinziga is the finer cut of the Bresaola family, and was already known in the 1400s.
It is a cylindrical shape and the weight varies from 300 to 800 grams. The colours of the meat is very dark red, and the consistency is leathery and sinewy.
Slinzega is a typical specialty of the province of Sondrio, the only area in the region that extends from one side to the other.
Another characteristic of this area is the difference in height above sea level between the two opposite points: from 212 metres above sea level in Novate Mezzola to 3996 m a.s.l. on the Italian peaks of the Bernina in Valmalenco.
The province of Sondrio extends right down the valley of the Adda river, known as Valtellina, from the source to the mouth of the Lario, and right through Valchiavenna where the Liro-Mera river flows.
Two strips are not part of it, but belong to the Swiss Confederation (Grigioni). This is the Bregaglia valley, from Castasegna to the Maloja pass, which the Mera river flows through, and the Val Poschiavina, just north of Tirano at the Bernina pass, where the Poschiavino river flows.
Beef Slinzega is prepared by carefully trimming the nerves and fat from the chosen cut. The salting process is the same as the one used for bresaola, with the addition of crushed, not finely ground spices.
In particular, the selected cut is covered in salt and over a period of 10 days, this is rubbed in so it is absorbed. Beef Slinzega is then seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, pepper, garlic and bay leaf. Usually it is aged in rooms where the temperature is between 12° and 18° C for 30 days.
Slinzega has a decisive but pleasant flavour, very similar to aged meat.
How to consume it
Slinzega can be eaten on its own, sliced not too thinly. It is perfect as a snack, and is eaten more often in winter.