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The taste of victory

California is home to true Italian salami, thanks to the sausage war.

February 19, 2003|Emily Green | Times Staff Writer

In Italy, salami is known by regional appellations: salame Milano, salame di Napoli, salame Toscano and so on, not as "Italian." Some might have more finely ground pork and fat, some might have boar, or even donkey. Some might have fennel, or in the case of salami from Calabria, chili pepper. Devoted fans can find these in gourmet stores.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., salami tends to be more pungent, made to stand up to San Francisco sourdough. It might include a small amount of beef, and San Francisco makers are observing a new class of American regions, producing "Cajun"-style salami and various new pepper-coated and spiced, dried sausages.

Finally, making "Italian salami" year-round is no longer strictly a Bay Area art. Advances in refrigeration and cold store technology mean that curing rooms can be set up anywhere in the country, and no longer require the temperate San Francisco climate. Piccetti mentions Volpe of St. Louis and Citterio in Pennsylvania.

But to true devotees, Italian salami will always be Californian.

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