Monte Isola’s salami

Monte Isola’s salami

In Cure, Masse, Olzano and Senzano, every family has always killed the pig raised or bought to prepare salami at home between January and February.

The “experts” organize the long and patient processing of the local salami with scrupulous respect for the ritual handed down for countless generations and that no one wants to change.

Packaging the salami obtained from a pig takes at least four people for a day, each with a specific task: cutting the meat all by hand into fairly large pieces (electric tools for mincing it are strictly prohibited), mixing the dough, bagging, binding . According to the ritual it was obligatory that the moon was waning; those who could not wait proceeded with a crescent moon, but on a Friday.


In the second phase (smoking), the salami is hung in a special room, the “ca del salam”: an ancient cellar with unplastered stone walls, a vaulted ceiling, a fire in which dry wood must be continuously burned to maintain a constant temperature. The chimney must be closed, in order to spread the smoke in the room, which in addition to smoking, maintains a tepid temperature, especially at night. On the whole island, there are few rooms equipped with the necessary characteristics; reservations must therefore be made, so that usually the salami of four or five pigs is hung in one room.

Freshly made salami is left hanging for thirty days; then it can be eaten or hung in normal cellars or placed in terracotta amphorae (“òle”, in ancient stone) under fat.

Emigrants from Monte Isola insist that the same procedure outside the island does not give the same results.