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Ciauscolo Salumi with Vincotto

Written By Culinary Pen on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | 5:56:00 PM

I was so pleased with my nduja this year that I decided to try another spreadable salami, Ciauscolo.  This salami is made in Marche, Italy, which is a very interesting but often overlooked region.  I learned about it when I worked in the imported/specialty food business.  Marche has plentiful white truffles, but not many people have heard of Marche truffles...but Marche is right next to Umbria, which is world-renowned for their truffles.  So look at a map, glance at the hefty price tag the word "Umbria" brings to the truffle market and... the region's border gets a little hazy to some entrepreneurs.
Berkshire Ciauscolo Salami next to Nduja di Calabria (right)
To start, I reached out to the knowledgeable Evan Brady of Craft Butcher's Pantry, who gave me his own article on making Ciauscolo, inspired by the IGP disciplinare (Indicazione Geografica Protetta, the protected geographical information awarding seals of authenticity to wine, cheese, salami, and other historic, regional foods).

I was surprised that the IGP recipe for Ciauscolo did not contain vincotto, a product I had read about in a few other articles on this particular type of salami.  Then I reread the wikipedia page, hoping to find some information on the vincotto in the source material links.  Unfortunately the line "[ciauscolo contains] in some rare cases vincotto" jumped out at me in a way I overlooked before.  Well, the devil is in the details.

So I went ahead and made it with vincotto anyway.  Vincotto is cooked down grape must, sometimes sold under the name saba.  Unlike balsamic, vincotto is not fermented, so there's no alcohol or acetic acid that would turn it to vinegar.  That said, its flavor is similar to a rich, syrupy, well-aged balsamic.  As the vincotto in its raw form has such a pronounced flavor, I only added 0.75% vincotto by green weight of the salami (compared to 1.1% for a red wine).

Afterwards, the salami was stuffed into hog middles and smoked for 60 minutes over oak to "sanitize the surface," as the IGP states.  Tasting update to come in four weeks!

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