Salumi is Italian for cured meats, and a salumeria can be defined as a cured meat shop. Sometimes, the term is more loosely defined as an Italian delicatessen or deli. Most shops feature plenty of classic cured meats and sausages like salami, prosciutto, various types of bologna, and plenty of other cold cuts.
History of the shop dates back to Roman times, when curing meat was an especially helpful way to preserve it. What grew out of necessity later became culinary art with attention paid to types of spices and meats were used, and even the location of meat supplies for sausages and other cured meats. In a true salumeria, people are often amazed by the extensive variety of Italian meats and cold cuts.
Modern Italy has such stores, and these are great places to stop for a quick bite or to stock up on ingredients for classic Italian foods. Their popularity has spread to other parts of the world, and there are well-known delis of this type in the US, Canada, and in other European countries. Most are located in larger cities, and many of the items they feature are directly imported from Italy.
This isn’t always the case, and many countries have also perfected their own different types of cured meats. Instead of importing goods, they may offer local cured meat options. This may or may not be combined with other, rare meats from places like Italy.
Customers won’t just find meats, but can also look for rare cheeses at many salumeria locations. Especially outside of Italy, they can have full kitchens where lots of Italian cuisine, sandwiches, and typical cold salads are prepared too. Each Italian delicatessen is unique.
Salumerias in countries other than Italy may prove great places to find tons of Italian imported foods that are challenging to locate elsewhere. Certain brands of pasta, Italian chocolate, panettone or panforte, and other rare goodies can be featured. For those who love Italian imports, large stores can be one-stop shopping for gifts, especially around the holidays when gifts of food are particularly welcomed.
Another potential shopping find at larger stores is imported Italian wines. When people are shopping for the perfect Italian chianti, a brilliant spumante, or a pinot grigio, a well-stocked salumeria can be the perfect location. Gifts of imported wine, or wine and delicious food together, are often appreciated.
Travelers to Italy would do well to research some of the more popular delis in various cities. There are many of them, perhaps too many to visit in a single trip. Plenty of Internet reviews can guide visitors to some of the best ones in different parts of the country.