Prosciutto vs. Salami | Which One  Should I Choose?

Ah, the quintessential charcuterie board! Yes, we are talking about the one that makes your mouth water and your taste buds come alive. A trip to the Italian grocery store is incomplete without an assortment of fruit, meats, and cheeses to decorate your charcuterie board.

However, with the many kinds of Italian meats out there, it can be hard to choose. If you are stuck in the battle between Prosciutto and Salami, the following sections can help you settle the score.

Since Prosciutto and Salami have entirely different taste profiles and uses, understand which meat to use and when can liven up your cuisine. If you want to bring the famous Italy market to your kitchen, we suggest you purchase some of these gourmet meats to try them out today!


Prosciutto vs Salami: What’s the Difference?

You must know the difference if you want to use Prosciutto and Salami efficiently in your kitchen. Italian meats are a part of gourmet cuisine and go best with unique side pairings. If you are confused about which one to choose, the following sections go over their flavor profiles and how they are cured to help you decide;


Prosciutto is a popular Italian meat and can be categorized as salumi. It looks pink, tastes salty, and is usually served in the shape of thin slices.

What It Is
Prosciutto is Italian for ham and is split into further categories, such as Prosciutto Crudo (raw version) and Prosciutto Cotto (cooked). However, the most preferred form is cured meat which you can find at most Italian stores.

Like all great Italian cuisine, Prosciutto takes us all the way back to pre-Roman times when villagers in Italy were known to preserve meat by dry aging their pork legs. This is known as curing today and is a popular way to preserve meat for a better taste profile.

How It Is Made
Prosciutto meat is made from the same pork legs mentioned above. Professionals cover the meat in salt and leave it to rest for some weeks. The salt allows the meat to drain itself of blood and any fluids susceptible to bacteria while it is being cured. This ingredient is also the main reason why the
meat tastes so delicious in its final stages.

When the meat is considered “ready,” it is taken out of the salt and washed, seasoned, and dry-aged at a certain temperature for a few months. Since everyone has their own way of curing their Italian meats, this has become more of an art form. The better it is cured, the better it tastes.

Why You Should Choose It
Prosciutto is best suited to those who like their meat juicy, sweet, and salty. The meat is best consumed in its raw form and is salmon pink or reddish brown in color. Every Prosciutto meat curing might produce a different flavor profile as the more it is aged, the more vibrant the taste. However, you can also choose to season it with classic Italian herbs and spices.

The meat is best for a charcuterie board or gourmet dining experience that demands complex flavor. It is usually served paper-thin and loaded with fat that will engulf your senses as you take a bite.



Salami is also a type of salumi that is achieved through fermentation. The meat is air-dried and can come from beef, lamb, duck, or the traditional pork option. The better the meat, the better it tastes!

What It Is
Salami also originated in Italy and was developed during the same time as the popular Prosciutto. Salami is Latin for salt, and there are more than 150 different variations found in Italy. If you choose this meat, you may settle on it due to its versatility. It can literally pair up with anything!

In America, Salami is equivalent to cured sausage that is usually made of pork and seasoned with salt and spices. Traditional Salami is, in fact, made from different pork cuts that are ground together. Seasoning is added later in the form of Italian herbs and spices.

How It Is Made
After Salami is put together by grinding multiple types of meat and spices, it is stuffed into a bag-like structure made from a pig’s cleaned intestines. This is then hung up and left to dry-cure.

The bacteria it is exposed to during fermentation provides it with that distinct acidic flavor and chewy texture. The salt added to the meat also helps to pull away the moisture, as in Prosciutto.

Why You Should Choose It
Salami should be a top choice for those who love their meat salty, porky, and fatty! Salami also tastes a lot like cheese or some of the other dry-aged items on the charcuterie board.

If you want to go for Salami, ensure you get exactly the kind of Salami you want. Different Salami meats have distinct tastes owing to their seasonings. You can simply pick your meat depending on the herbs to attain your desired taste per your meal requirements.


Prosciutto vs. Salami: Which One is the Healthier Option?

The taste of Italian meats can differ based on the cuts or how they are cured. Prosciutto is much fancier than Salami and can usually be easily added to a charcuterie board. However, you may need to pair Salami with a glass of wine due to the stronger taste.

Prosciutto also has a softer flavor profile if that is something you prefer. Moreover, it is far less fatty than other meats if you want to eat healthier. However, as is true with all cured meats, Prosciutto does contain a high quantity of salt, so it is best served as an occasional gourmet meal!


Pairing Prosciutto

Prosciutto certainly packs a punch in its thin slices, but you must use it well to be able to experience the flavor. Pairing cured Italian meats with the perfect ingredients can enhance the taste of the meat and lead to a better experience.

The following pairings can help you get creative in the kitchen and lead to an easier choice. Simply consider the popular ways to eat Prosciutto and match it with your meal requirements.

  • 1. The Cheese
The first pairing, probably the most popular, is the cheese that often sits at the top of our charcuterie boards. When purchasing Prosciutto, make sure you ask for the thinnest slices so that you can add them to different assortments.
Pairing your Prosciutto with gouda or provolone can enhance its flavor. You don’t even need to decorate them on that charcuterie board. Just eat them off the plate! Here are some of the best quality cheeses that will go well with your meat.
  • 2. The Fruit

The sweet and salty flavors of the Prosciutto combine beautifully with equally sweet and salty fruits such as Honeydew, pears, or figs. You can mix and match different fruits or wrap the Prosciutto around a slice for the best flavor.

  • 3. The Classic Italian Olives

Another great way to consume Prosciutto is by wrapping it around olives. If you love adding olives to a meal, this is the meat to choose. Prosciutto goes well with that salty olive; the raw tastes combine to explode like fireworks in your mouth.

You can also choose to add different condiments to this pairing. Simply get those skewers you saved up for that boring pigs-in-a-blanket idea and surprise your guests with olives, cherry tomatoes, gouda, and Prosciutto on a stick!

  • 4. The Easy Option

If you can’t come up with anything else and want to taste Prosciutto, add a fresh piece of homemade bread to the toaster, some tangy cherry tomatoes on top, and a thin slice of Prosciutto for the easiest and quickest gourmet meal ever!

Pairing Salami

Salami is much more diverse than Prosciutto and can be paired up with literally everything! However, the flavor is slightly different.

Choose Salami if you want to add a mix of textures and flavors to your food. Salami can be spicy, salty, or sweet, depending on the spices and herbs. It is also fully cooked, unlike traditional Prosciutto.

  • 1. With Cheese

Salami is best paired with cheese, like most Italian meats. If you are shopping at the Italian grocery store and have already purchased your meats, go to the Italian cheese section and get some Gouda, Feta, or Burrata! These cheeses will enhance the taste of your Salami and wow your guests!

  • 2. With a Salad
If you are making a salad, Salami is an excellent choice. Most salads include the drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes that cured Italian meats complement. Try to stick to the basics and don’t add a lot of ingredients that will drown the distinct Salami flavor!
  • 3. With a Bread
You can choose to bake your own bread if you want to serve your Salami best. Breadsticks or an entire loaf of homemade bread is a chef’s paradise when paired with the perfect cured Salami. Since Italian bread is already crispy and crusty, you can easily spread some fresh sauce on top and add the meat to make a healthy sandwich.
  • 4. With an Assortment
Yes, you can add Salami to your charcuterie boards if you want! In fact, the more variety, the better everything will taste. Salami goes well with dry fruits, olives, nuts, fresh fruit, or even sweet jams and jellies. If you are looking for fresh olives, here’s where you can find both variety and quality.

If you want, you can also add some vegetables to the side and taste them with your Salami! This includes carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and more!


How to Buy Italian Meats

If you are planning to surprise your holiday guests with a recipe that calls for some Prosciutto or Salami, you must know what you are looking for. As you reach the Italian grocery store, you might be bombarded with different labels that make no sense. Here are some common terms to note;

  • Prosciutto Crudo is cured ham, whereas Prosciutto Cotto is cooked.

Your cured ham should be deep pink (if it is brown, there’s probably something wrong with it). Moreover, it shouldn’t have a rotten or strange smell. Prosciutto is also sold in slices or packages. Ensure you get sliced Prosciutto for that perfect melt-in-you-mouth experience.

  • Salami is also called cold cuts, and there are many different types to note.

You can choose between Felino, Finocchiona, Soppressata, or Ventricina Salami. All of these have distinct tastes. Felino is the traditional kind, whereas Finnochiona contains fennel seeds. Soppressata is for those who don’t like chewy meats, whereas Ventricina is spicier as it incorporates the popular Peperoncinos.

Make sure you search for the different kinds of meat before you buy them and shop for your Italian meats, depending on your requirements. Here’s a bundle you may like to explore for an assortment of items that go best with your Italian meats.

Final Thoughts

No matter what you choose, one thing is certain. There is nothing better than Italian meats to add some spark to your cuisine. If you want to experience fine dining or are looking for a gourmet option for your next event, consider trying Italian meats.

Prosciutto and Salami might have different flavor profiles, but they are known to go well with all of the assortments on many charcuterie boards. Consider Salami if you plan an intimate evening and pair it with some wine. However, you must reserve Prosciutto for those fancy events!

Italian meats don’t need company. You can pour yourself a glass of wine today, get some cheese, and consume that slice of Prosciutto you have purchased from your Italian grocery store! Shop at Supermarket Italy for the authentic ingredients you require for your Italian tastebuds!


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