A journey through Calabrian PDO cured meats

Calabria and the places where the traditional cured meats are produced

© Regione Calabria

Food and wine

Ready to take a tasty journey among Calabrian branded cured meats?

Although Calabria is a region bordered by the sea, it is undeniable that traditional cured meats and pork products are among its top gastronomic products. Just mention the now international 'nduja and soppressata.

A tradition that has ancient roots, in the relationship between man, land and animals, and has developed over the centuries to become consolidated in the current chains of excellence, certified with the PDO mark, and in the many Slow Food and PAT (Traditional Agri-food Product) products.

Calabrian cured meats with PDO mark

Needless to say, anyone visiting Calabria cannot help but take a taste of its famous fresh and cured sausages, true national excellences as well as a truly irresistible temptation of gluttony.

The Calabrian cured meats PDO are different, but they all reflect the identity of an area that, in its hinterland, is deeply devoted to the breeding and processing of pork, in particular the large breeds such as Large White, Landrace and Duroc, strictly bred and processed in Calabria.

In fact, the production of Calabrian cured meats covers the entire region, from north to south, with delicious local variations of the same sausage.

How many and which are the Calabrian cured meats PDO? According to strict specifications, the "magnificent 4" are: pancetta, capocollo, salsiccia and soppressata.

Regione Calabria

In addition to these, there are a number of other traditional cured meats that, although not yet branded, represent the best of Calabrian charcuterie.

How can one exclude, for example, u bucculàru - the Calabrian guanciale - or the world's most famous spreadable sausage, the 'Nduja di Spilinga?

Spilinga Nduja
Regione Calabria

Then there is an indigenous Calabrian pig breed appreciated worldwide for its valuable health and anti-cholesterol properties: his majesty, the Suino Nero of Calabria (Black Pork).

In the places of the Suino Nero of Calabria

Known since the 19th century and even mentioned in literature by writers of the Grand Tour, such as George Gissing, and by Corrado Alvaro himself, the Suino Nero of Calabria has always represented excellence in the food sector due to its sought-after characteristics, now with the PAT (Traditional Agri-food Product) mark.

What is so special about the Suino Nero of Calabria? To begin with, it is reared in a semi-wild state at high altitudes, allowing it to feed genuinely on fruits and acorns from the undergrowth, and to move up and down steep mountain slopes, so as to keep its meat lean and completely free of saturated fats, which is healthy for humans as a source of Omega 3.

The "Nero di Calabria" Association protects small breeders and specimens that until a few years ago risked extinction, whereas today they are widespread throughout the region, albeit in small numbers.

The places where the Suino Nero of Calabria lives and is reared deserve a visit that combines nature and gastronomy. Among the elective homelands in the province of Cosenza are the municipalities of Castrovillari, in the Pollino National Park, and Acri.

In Castrovillari, the Suino Nero finds its apotheosis in a gourmet recipe that has now become a "must", the famous Filetto di Nero with wild berries; in Acri there is the Pig Reproduction Experimental Centre, where you can learn more about the Association's efforts to safeguard the species. Needless to say, Acri's cured meats are extremely sought-after and delicious.

Regione Calabria

Finally, in the heart of the Aspromonte National Park in the province of Reggio Calabria, the Suino Nero is the undisputed king of the woods.

In the small mountain village of Canolo, also known as the centre of the "Dolomites of the South", there is an excellent sales and refreshment outlet where you can taste the original, award-winning Calabrian Mortadella di Suino Nero, made by family-run producers, and a range of other genuine cured meats from Aspromonte.

Regione Calabria


Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 14, 2024 10:45 AM