Italian cold cuts: which are the most famous

by Ale Mx

The Italians are famous for their culture, their passion for life and an equal passion for food and drink. Many of the traditional Italian dishes have found their way across the globe, becoming staples in households. There’s a simple reason for this, the food is simple to prepare, highly nutritious and delicious! Italian cold cuts are perhaps one of their most famous foods. If you’re wondering what Italian cold cuts are, it’s time you discovered this delight!

What is an Italian cold cut: let's find out together

An Italian cold cut selection is simply a plate of sliced meat, served cold. The meats are often used in sandwiches or as a plate of antipasto. Of course, the meat also finds its way into other dishes, such as salads. That means there is a way for everyone to enjoy these delicacies. It’s worth noting that Italian cold cut meats combine with seasoned cheese to make a delicious, rich-flavored meal, appetizer or snack. Perhaps the most famous Italian cold cuts are salami and speck. Speck is dry, hard to bite and known as one of the best Italian cold cuts prosciutto. Most Italian cold cuts are made from pork, as there is a plentiful supply of hogs in Italy. The hogs were customarily butchered in late autumn and left to cure, giving the Italians meat throughout the winter.

The most common Italian cold cuts are:

  • Porchetta

Porchetta originates in the Ariccia region and is extremely popular in Rome. It’s effectively a pork roast seasoned with garlic, herbs, and black pepper.

  • Prosciutto Crudo

This is a dry-cured pork leg. It is very finely sliced and then added to sandwiches or pizza. It’s also sometimes used in cooked dishes.

  • Mortadella

Mortadella originates from Bologna, it is a common cold cut and is also often found piled onto a pizza base as a snack. It’s finely hashed pork meat with pieces of pork fat. You’ll find variants with olives, black pepper and other spices.

  • Speck

This comes from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in northern Italy. It’s dry-smoked and delicious. It’s also very popular when combined with cheese. Check out these related articles to find out more about Italian cheeses.

  • Salami

Salami is one of the favorite cold cuts across the globe. It’s usually made of a mixture of meat and fat and can be difficult to swallow, but it tastes fantastic.

  • Pancetta

Pancetta is made from belly pork and is salt-cured, it’s also available cooked which is potentially even more delicious.

Combining Italian cured meats with mature Italian cheese

While Italian cold cuts taste fantastic and can be eaten in a variety of ways, the best way to truly enjoy their flavor and appreciate them is to combine them with mature Italian cheese. Both the cheese and the meat are rich in flavor, complementing and enhancing each other.

The great thing about pairing cold cuts and cheese is that there are so many combinations. You’ll be able to sample many different versions before finding the one which works well for you.

Some suggestions worth trying are:

  • Mortadella with goat cheese;
  • Bresaola with burrata cheese;
  • Salami and Parmigiano Reggiano;
  • Italian Prosciutto with provolone cheese.

Each of the above combinations works by pairing opposites: put a creamy cheese with a dry cold cut, or a sweet and nutty cheese with a salty cold cut. You’ll be surprised at how well the two flavors balance and leave a delicious aftertaste in your mouth. It’s even possible to add a little jam and honey to the mix. The more intense the cheese, the sweeter the jam!

Don’t take our word for it, try some Italian cold cuts and cheese combinations today. You won’t be disappointed!