Italy was traditionally an agricultural country, so almost every rural family kept a pig and cured every part of it. From spout to tail to provide food for the family throughout the year. In any Italian larder a range of home cured hams, sausages and bacon would be found hanging from the ceiling!
Wherever you travel in Italy you will find regional variations on the same theme. Martina Franca (TA), which is a beautiful town not too far from here, is famous for their excellent affettati freschi ( lunch meats—also known as cold cuts) Capocollo/Coppa Martinese. We always buy local lunch meats and have never been disappointed. Most of these cured meats are served as antipasto before a meal: Prosciutto crudo, Prosciutto cotto, Pancetta, Speck, Bresaola, Coppa, Mortadella, Salami To name a few !
My mother in law was originally from Camigliatello/ Spezzano della Sila – Calabria, I remember traveling there to meet her Calabrian relatives, our first stop was Cosenza, then up the mountains to Camigliatello. We arrived at a small pig farm belonging to one of my mother in law’s 7 sisters! We were immediately fed with some delicious cheeses and hams, homemade bread. The family sat around talking for hours, at that time I didn’t understand much Italian so I had a walk around the farm and saw (for the 1st time) a slaughtered pig hanging upside down with a large bucket to collect the pigs blood. When we (eventually) left, the family loaded the boot of our car with local cheeses, pancetta and lard cured in salt, last but not least plenty of local home grown Calabrian potatoes and some wine!