This review has been a while in the making as I wanted to work my way through all of the products I received before posting my review. My friends at Columbus Foods sent me a lovely sampling of some of their salami that I have to say were out of this world. These were rather large salamis so it has taken me up until now to work my way through all of them as I had to pace myself. I received their: Chorizo; Toscano; Italian Dry; All Natural Pepper; and All Natural Sopressata varieties. Now, before we begin, let’s clear up any confusion about salami vs. salame vs. salumi. Salami is the plural of salame and salumi is really a grouping for any cured meat product usually made from pork but my favorite cured beef or bresaola is also included in there. Hope that helps.
First up was the Chorizo. I am a huge fan of chorizo. Being married to a Bermudian (which has a large Portuguese population) I know a little something about good chorizo. Let me tell you that this chorizo is right up there with the best that I have come across. It is wonderfully spicy but it is more of a controlled heat that will not leave you running for a drink to calm the spice. The rich paprika notes help elevate this to a whole different level perfectly completing the flavor of the natural flavor of the pork. I enjoyed this all on its own or paired with cheese but perhaps my crowning achievement was dicing and frying a bit up in a puttanseca-esque type sauce I made one evening and served over gluten-free pasta.
Next in line was the Toscano. This was the leanest of the salami sampled and was actually quite a surprising salami. It has a nice kick to it that you are not necessarily expecting. Not at all spicy like the chorizo this flavorful salami boasted subtle notes of garlic that were elevated by the addition of wine to this variety. It was indeed lean but still quite flavorful and paired extremely will with a range of cheese that I served it with. I’ll also confess that I fried up a bit, drained it, and added it to an omelet with a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for a truly decadent brunch one morning.
Which brings us to the Italian Dry salame. This, like all the others was exceptional. This slow-cured variety boast a rich flavor that is perfectly salty and slight sweet at the same time. It is ideal in a sandwich with a bit of Provolone and a bit of spicy Dijon mustard. It’s a more mild flavored salami so you can pair it with more robust flavored items without having to worry about it overpowering what it’s accompanying.
Moving right along, the Natural Uncured Sopressata was next. Sopressata has long been one of my favorite salamis. These is just something about it that takes me back to my childhood having grown up in an Italian family. I always find that people seem intimidated by sopressata because all they see is fat. Well, if you have never tried it, please do. It’s a coarsely ground salame (hence the larger bits of fat) but its all about the flavor with this one. It is an extremely rich-bodied salami that slowly melts in your mouth and is the perfect accompaniment for wonderfully salty cheeses or olives.
And last but certainly not least was the Natural Pepper salame. Now I have to be honest, I was never a fan of anything wrapped in peppercorns or herbs. Well, that was until I tried this variety of salame. I was a bit apprehensive at first and I will admit that this was in fact the very last salame I tried. I kept putting it off because in my min all I saw a peppercorns and the thought of chewing on a crunchy peppery-wrapped piece of salame kind of put me off. Let me be the first to say I was wrong. These were far better than I had expected and the raked black peppercorns were in fact perfectly sized so that when sliced you were not hit with a mouthful of peppercorns. Instead your palate was met with a robust salame that used the peppercorns to compliment rather than dominate the flavor of the pork. Slice a bit of this up while enjoying a nice glass of Sangiovese red and it will be gone before you know it.
All in all I have to say that these salami were outstanding. It is easy to see why the company has been around since 1917. You can view their complete product portfolio on their Web site and also find a retailer near you where you can try some of their products for yourself. All of their salumi are gluten-free, contain no MSG, and 0% trans fat.