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No Bologna

Premium cured sausage has the right stuff

Sam Gugino
Posted: September 7, 2000

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No Bologna

Premium cured sausage has the right stuff

By Sam Gugino

One should never watch laws or sausages being made, the old saying goes. But Mark Buzzio of Salumeria Biellese in Manhattan guarantees no "beaks or butts" in his cured sausages. No nitrates or nitrites either -- or fillers like nonfat dry milk -- or sugar, MSG, and, well, you don't want to know the rest.  

Mostly what you get in Buzzio's cured sausages or salami is well-marbled, delicious meat with just enough seasoning to bring out the true flavor of the meat, not mask it. (Salami, the plural of salame, is the Italian name for a family of uncooked sausages made edible by dry curing.)  

"Salami was born of a very simple thing. It was a way to save the pork through the summer," says François Vecchio of Columbus Salame Co., in Hayward, Calif. The pork was chopped, mixed with seasonings and perhaps wine (an early preservative along with salt and saltpeter) and allowed to ferment. Then it was stuffed into casings usually made from pig bladders or intestines. The salami aged for months in a cool, humid cellar with the cheese and wine.  

Fruity Sangiovese-based wines, such as Chiantis, are very good with most Italian salami, as are Barberas. I also found the smoked meat qualities of a Côtes du Rhône a good choice for many sausages. A youngish Spanish Tempranillo was also very accommodating. As for white wines, I particularly liked a Sardinian Vermentino and a Vernaccia from Tuscany.  

If uncut, cured sausages will last almost forever at room temperature, though they will get drier and chewier. So keep them in the fridge unless you want them to taste like -- well, you don't want to know.

-- Sam Gugino, Wine Spectators Tastes columnist, is the author of Cooking to Beat the Clock.

For the complete article, please see the September 15, 2000 issue of Wine Spectator magazine, p.25.


Expect to pay from $10 to $20 per pound for quality cured sausages. Imported mortadella is a relative bargain at about $6 per pound.

A.G. Ferrari San Leandro, Calif., (877) 878-2783; www.agferrari.com (for Molinari)

D'Artagnan Newark, N.J., (800) 327-8246; www.dartagnan.com

DiBruno Bros. Philadelphia, (888) 322-4337; www.dibruno.com

La Espaola Meats, Inc. Harbor City, Calif., (310) 539-0455; www.laespanolameats.com

La Tienda Williamsburg, Va., (888) 472-1022; www.tienda.com (for Palacios)

Salumeria Biellese New York, (212) 736-7376

Zingerman's Ann Arbor, Mich., (888) 636-8162; www.zingermans.com (for Ticino)

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