The lush-green Baganza valley in the Parma province is home to PGI Salame Felino, which takes its traditional name from the little town of Felino, the historical centre that has been making this pure pork salami since time immemorial.
The first evidence of the production of this salami can be traced back to Latin authors from as early as the 1st century BC, but it wasn’t until Medieval times and later, most notably from the second half of the 18th century onwards, that the degree of innovation achieved in pork butchery succeeded in transforming this salami into what it is today.
The earliest depiction of this charcuterie appears to be in Benedetto Antelami's decoration of the inside of the Parma Baptistery from the 12th century. A panel portrays two salamis that are thought to be attributable to Salame Felino owing to their shape and size.
Soft, cylindrical in shape, mild in flavour and intensely fragrant, this salami is made from pure pork meat. The blend of meat - known as trito di banco (made up of 75% lean meat and 25% fatty cuts) - is chopped, minced and passed through a grinder before salt, pepper, garlic, wine, sugar and other natural flavours are added to it. Lastly, the mixture is stuffed into a natural pig intestine casing and left to age for at least 25 days.
Produced in Felino, where the museo del Salame di Felino is located, and throughout the Parma province, the authenticity of the “Prince of Salami” is guaranteed by the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and by the salami’s namesake consortium, the Consorzio di tutela, which applies its own seal of approval.
Thought to be one of the best appetisers available in Parma cuisine, this pure pork salami should be served sliced into rounds, being careful to limit its exposure to air. The perfect finger food, it can be eaten by itself or accompanied by fresh, home-made bread and a dab of butter. It also works well with other fragrant salamis from the area, perhaps washed down with a glass of wine from the surrounding hills, such as Lambrusco, Fortana or Malvasia.