Guide to Italian Cured Meats 2023

Guide to Italian Cured Meats 2023

by Mattia Ravanetti

Professional Wine Taster and Marketing Manager at Cantina Il Poggio




The most comprehensive guide of Italian Cured Meats, 2023 edition.

In this article we want to talk about a pioneering project, capable of classifying and narrating the cured meat sector, which boasts of uniqueness in the world for its variety, quality, and typicality.

Out of 162 evaluated producers, 46 have been awarded the Five Pins πŸ“Œ (in italian, “5 Spilli”) of excellence, meticulously analyzed with technical and qualitative sheets.

The primary task of the Guide, besides informing readers, should be to grasp the evolution of a sector, highlight changes or confirmations, anticipate new trends, and essentially narrate what is going to happen.

This task becomes even more critical in the last two years during Covid19 even if the cured meat sector has demonstrated a strong resilience by promptly responding to the demands of both the domestic and international markets.

During this challenging scenario, several curators of the 2023 Guide to Italian Cured Meats have moved, to discover and reward the excellence not only in products but also in companies and, above all, in individuals who, thanks to their insights and entrepreneurial courage, have built one of the most prestigious and identity-defining productive sectors for Italy.


Let’s take a step back

Cured meat refer to products made from the processing of pork, beef, wild boar, roe deer, horse, donkey, deer, and goose meat.

The main protagonist is salt, which is the fundamental ingredientΒ in order to produce cured meat. Salt dehydrates the tissues, inhibiting the proliferation of harmful microorganisms. It also stimulates the aging process and, of course, adds flavor to the product.

Tasting cured meat is a journey through different organoleptic characteristics, discovering various cuts and types, the details that distinguish cooking, smoking, spicing, as well as ingredients and texture.


How do you taste cured meats?

A skilled and well-prepared “norcino” (the master of cured meat) is called upon to assess the correctness of each cured meat before cutting, in order to avoid any storage or conservation defects.


Here the main steps:


  • Cutting – each type is cut, either by machine or by hand, trying to respect the correct serving temperatures, just as we would do during a wine tasting


  • Samples – each battery consists of five samples, all belonging to the same type and same aging, and therefore subjected to comparative tasting


  • Visual examination – first, the brightness of the color, the contrast between the lean and fatty parts, as well as any encrustations, are examined. To proceed to the next level, it is essential to have a complete absence of defects


  • Olfactory examination – the olfactory examination is shaped according to the characteristics of the specific type of cured meat. Aspects such as spicing, any aromatic notes, or smokiness are examined. There may also be tertiary recognitions, such as dried fruit, noble molds, and others, as a result of aging in the cellar


  • Taste examination – the guide examines five fundamental tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. A qualitative spectrum then determines the level of intensity, persistence, solubility, and the perception of smoky notes, spices, or other ingredients, such as garlic, or the spiciness of pepper and/or chili


  • Consistency and texture – a union between tenacity, consistency, softness, smoothness, oiliness, thickness, and meltability, as well as the volume of chewing and salivation


  • Quality – the overall quality is determined by the combination and harmony of these elements, as well as the total absence of defects


  • Scoring – by using “pins” πŸ“Œ there is a scale that helps to judge:


Excellent: πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ

Very Good: πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ

Good:πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ πŸ“Œ

Satisfactory: πŸ“ŒπŸ“Œ



The Finest Italian Cured Meats at Cantina Il Poggio!

Cantina il Poggio is launching the second edition of Gastronomic August. Every Saturday in August, at 11 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM, you are going to live a complete food&wine experience.Β 

The event foresees:

  • Visiting tour (45′ minute)
  • Wine Tasting (5 glasses of 5 different kind of wines)
  • Bruschetta with our extra virgin olive oil
  • MEC PALMIERI, “FAVOLA GRAN RISERVA” MORTADELLA (Best Mortadella in Italy 2023)
  • PROSCIUTTIFICIO S. ILARIO, 60-Months Aged PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA DOP (Protected Designation of Origin)

For reservation, feel free to visit