We all know that Italian cold cuts are delicious but maybe not the most ideal of friends for our figures. A slice of mortadella, a bit of salami or freshly sliced prosciutto and bread are a feast for our hungry palates. And no wonder, Italian cold cuts are absolutely delicious and for good reason – each region is famous for its own products of excellence and are often protected under a seal of guarantee, for example mortadella from Bologna or Tuscan IGP finocchiona.
Each type of cold cut is of course best accompanied by a glass of wine! But this is not only a matter of taste, but wine is generally paired with cold cuts in order to clean the palate. There are too many Italian cold cuts to properly pair and each deserves special attention, but for this post we will limit ourselves to a few choice selections for pairing. But first, let’s debunk a common myth – cold cuts don’t always need to be paired with red wine!
Prosciutto Crudo San Daniele – Collio Friulano
Let’s start with one of the most popular of Italian cold cuts, one from Friuli Venezia Giulia in the North East of Italy. Here in Udine, an area which closely borders Slovenia and Austria, you will find an Italian product of excellence – San Daniele Prosciutto DOP. This delicate cured ham is both delicate and sweet and deserves a wine pairing with the right amount of sapidity and body. A non-aromatic white wine which balances well with the smoothness of this cold cut would pair well. An idea match is a Collio Friuliano DOC, thanks to its herbaceous notes and slightly bitter after taste.
Tuscan Finocchiona – Chianti Classico
Now we will embark fully on the Tuscan gastronomy, where the preparation of cured meats is treated as a craft that is handed down from family to family. Finocchiona IGP is a cold cut made from pork meat and flavored with fennel seeds and leaves. It is soft and pungent on the palate. The consistency is balanced when it comes to aroma and taste, so the wine pairing should be balanced as well. A full-bodied wine such as a Chianti Classico is an ideal pairing as it is soft, fruity and tannic.
Mortadella from Bologna – Lambrusco
This cold cut is delicate to the taste, intense in aroma and is popular in most international delis. Mortadella from Bologna IGP is an Italian product of excellence. It is made of minced pork meat with aromas, spices and offers the perfect mixture of sweet and savory. The perfect pairing for this cold cut is a wine that is not too tannic, in order to prevent astringency due to the fat in mortadella. The wine should be fresh and acidic. A great option for pairing is a Lambrusco di Modena which has become extremely popular throughout the years thanks to marketing efforts. The best Lambruscos offer fruity and floral sensations which blend well with the complexity of mortadella. If you want to experiment a bit more and surprise your palate, you could also try a Farnito Brut sparkling wine with this cold cut.