Salame di Varzi

Salame di Varzi has its origin in Varzi, a small city in the Province of Pavia in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 70 km south of Milan and about 40 km south of Pavia. It is also popular in the Oltrepò Pavese area of the Province of Pavia, in the north-west Italian region of Lombardy as well as in the Province of Piacenza (Emilia-Romagna) which is located to the east. Salame di Varzi das a dark red color with visible particles of white fat. The flavor is subtle and sweet, the pleasant aroma is the result of a long maturing process.

Lean pork, shoulder, leg (ham), loin700 g1.54 lb
Back fat, jowls, pork belly300 g0.66 lb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt28 g5 tsp
Cure #22.5 g1/2 tsp
Dextrose3.0 g1/2 tsp
Sugar2.0 g1 tsp
Pepper,1.0 g1/2 tsp
Peppercorns, whole2.0 g1 tsp
Nutmeg0.5 g1/4 tsp
Garlic and red wine infusion10 ml2 tsp
Garlic for making infusion10 g3 cloves
Red wine for making infusion30 ml2 Tbsp
T-SPX culture0.12 guse scale
  1. Garlic infusion. Dice finely 10 g (3 clove) of garlic and add to 30 ml (2 Tablespoons) of red wine. Macerate for 8 hours, then filter through a cheese cloth. Add 10 ml (2 tsp) of filtered infusion to meat paste when mixing.
  2. Trim meat well and discard any sinews, gristle, and collagen tissue. Grind cold meat through 12 mm (1/2") plate.
  3. Hard fat pieces that remain from trimming meat may be added to back fat and jowls. Grind cold fat through 12 mm (1/2") plate.
  4. Mix ground meat with salt, cure #2, spices, starter culture and garlic infusion. Add fat and mix all well together.
  5. Stuff firmly into 65 mm pork middles(pelato suino) or pork bungs (budello gentile) or double skinned sewn pork casings (cucito doppio)*. The last two ones are strong thick casings so the maturing process can last 100 days or more as the casings create a barrier to moisture removal.
  6. Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90-85% humidity.
  7. Dry at 15→12° C (59 → 53° F), 65-75% humidity for 6 weeks.
  8. Store at 10-12° C (50°-55 F), 75% humidity.
Salame di Varzi PDO was awarded PDO certificate of origin on June 21,1996.


The first records about Salame di Varzi sausage go back to the 12th century, but today the sausage is manufactured in a wide geographical area.


Salame di Varzi PDO must be made from pigs which are reared in Piemonte, Lombardia or Emilia Romana regions. Only natural casings are allowed.

Meat: freezing meat is not allowed for DOP certified Salame di Varzi, lean pork cuts must be used, the fat must come from the following cuts: jowls, shoulder, belly, ham-leg part, back fat.
Ingredients: sea salt is required for Salame di Varzi PDO, whole black pepper 2 g/1 kg, maximum sodium or potassium nitrate 0.25 g/kg meat (250 parts per million) or sodium nitrite at 0.15 g/kg meat (150 ppm), or mixture of nitrate and nitrite at 0.25 g /kg maximum (Cure # 2 contains sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate), infusion of garlic in filtered red wine: maximum 10 ml/kg, if starter culture is used the sugar and/or dextrose may be added at 3.5 g/1kg maximum.
Processing: the ground meat paste should not contain more than 45% fat. Meat and fat for salami with a diameter up to 50 mm should be ground with 10 mm (3/8”) plate, for salami with diameter over 50 mm with 12 mm (1/2”) plate. Stuffed sausages are reinforced with butcher twine.
In home production a good idea is to add Ch. Hansen – TSPX starter culture applied at 0.12 g/1 kg of meat. This will greatly increase chances for producing a satisfactory product.

* Depending on the size (diameter) this salami is classified as:

Salame di Varzi – Filzetta (pork casings), weight: 0.5 – 0.7 kg, maturing time: minimum 45 days.
Salame di Varzi – Filzettone (pork casings), weight: 0.7 – 1.0 kg, maturing time: minimum 60 days.
Salame di Varzi – Sottocrespone a budello semplice (pork bungs), weight: 1.0 – 2.0 kg, maturing time: minimum 120 days.
Salame di Varzi – Cusito a budello doppio (a hand-sewn double pig casing**), weight: 1.0 – 2.0 kg or more, maturing time: minimum 180 days.

** The “hand-sewn” salami (cucito doppio) was born in the first decades of the 20th century. It was stuffed between two filzetta or filzettone pork casings placed one on top of the other and sewn all around with thin twine. In this way, a single casing was obtained with a length of about 40 centimeters with a diameter of about 10 cm.

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