If you have never experimented with the aromatic flavours of continental meats before, then you have definitely been missing out. Offering a diversity of flavours and meaty cuts as well as a variety of different meal opportunities; Serrano, coppa, salami, bresola… all can offer your meals an added slice of the exotic.
What are continental meats?
Traditionally dry cured and flavoured with spices for months at a time, the most common continental meats you will find are:
Proscuitto: essentially a ham, prosciutto is traditionally salted, dried and served cold as an appetiser.
Bresola: commonly salted with spices, cinnamon and nutmeg to create a sweet musty smell, bresola is normally hung and left to age for 2-3 months to help enhance its dark red/purple colouring.
Coppa: taken from the shoulder/neck of a pig, coppa is traditionally dry cured and seasoned with red wine, garlic, herbs and spices to create a unique and authentic taste.
Pancetta: available whole or already pre-sliced, this continental meat is dry cured and spiced with nutmeg, pepper, garlic and fennel to bring out its natural aromas.
Salami: there are various types of salami, the most common ones being Milano and Napoli. Milano is usually created from a variety of meats i.e. beef, pork and poultry before being flavoured with garlic, wine, herbs and mixed spiced.
Napoli on the other hand only varies from Milano slightly in the fact that it also contains paprika.
Lardo: made from curing strips of pig fat, lardo is normally combined with rosemary and spices to create a rich and smooth taste.
Mortadella: a type of Italian sausage made from finely ground pork, mortadella contains at least 15% small cuts of pork fat as well as spices, ground black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, coriander and pistachios.
Chorizo: flavoured in red peppers, this continental meat is made from a variety of pork cuts and comes available in slices or as sausages.
Serrano: this Spanish dry cured ham is cured for months at a time to enhance its texture and flavour.
Whether you want to buy Serrano or any of the above continental meats it is always best to do your research first. Not many meat suppliers, both online or offline, make it possible for you to buy continental meat as they prefer to specialise in more local meats. For this reason, research where you can buy coppa, salami or Serrano from; learn more about their supplier i.e. who sends them this continental meat and most importantly compare prices. There are a few online meat suppliers out there who offer continental meats at affordable wholesale prices, so it is worth looking around.