The most ancient trades in Italy, alongside butchers, certainly include cured meat craftsmen. Both are experts in meat processing, food enthusiasts and explorers of new culinary horizons, combining tradition and innovation, family values and a desire for constant improvement achieving appreciation on an international as well as a local scale. Among the famous producers of hams and cured meats in Italy it is impossible not to mention the Salumi Villani, synonymous since 1886 with quality and excellence throughout the world.
“The role of delicatessen meat producers has changed dramatically over time,” Eurocarne Post heard from Giuseppe Villani, of the company of the same name based in Castelnuovo Rangone, near Modena, now at its fifth generation. “Before the Great War, for example, there was more freedom and it was much easier to sell our products. Growing competition and the introduction of increasingly strict regulations in this area consequently saw us develop from a small company into a full-scale industry”.
Despite the generalized downturn in consumption of agro-foods, ham and salami continue to sell. “These products are instantly ready to be enjoyed and are consequently always in great demand,” Villani went on. “The important thing is knowing how to re-invent tradition. Today, our flagship product is a speciality boiled ham prepared from the thighs of Italian heavy pigs and a secret recipe. This is sustained by our desire to achieve the highest quality at all levels in the production process, uphold ancient recipes and respond to the new challenges in the wake of the emergence of new markets”.
Delicatessen meats should not only be good but also healthy. “We make every effort to minimize the presence of non-natural elements in our products,” Villani points out. “At present, the only chemical ingredients we use are nitrites, nitrates and sodium ascorbate - in quantities significantly lower than those envisaged by law - exclusively to conserve these meats. Paying close attention to consumer welfare also means using the cold chain in the most appropriate way, reducing the use of salt, increasing cooking temperatures and envisaging longer seasoning to develop flavour to the full. Eat less and better is our motto: flavours should persist and satisfy the palate of everyone tasting such products”.
The importance of Villani delicatessen meats is also highlighted by the fact that the company's headquarters near Modena - one of the leading European food districts - are home to MUSA, the first Italian Delicatessen Meat Museum. It is a place for communication, training and promoting this art - which is a fundamental part of the history of small companies in Italy.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook