Glossary of Charcuterie

In days gone by, if you didn't have an ice-house handy and before fridges and freezers were invented, you usually preserved food for extended periods by drying, curing (pickling) and/or smoking.  Consequently recipes for preserving local fare have been developed all over the world, using the most suitable method for the climate (e.g. brine by the sea, air drying in warm climates, smoking in Britain), and materials that were cheap and easy to use.  Below is a glossary of a few of the more famous ones. Our apologies to the french language for the distortion of the word "Charcuterie", but it's such a great word that it seems a shame to restrict it to pork-based products only. Our thanks too to "Carluccio's Complete Italian Food" by Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio, 2002, and Lindy Wildsmiths "Cured", Aurum Press 2010, for many of the definitions.


Name Country of Origin Notes
Affettato Italy Sliced Meats, mainly pork-based
Algsalami Sweden Salami made from Elk rather than pork. Awesome!
Antipasto Italy Selection of charcuterie
Bacon   Pork ,  either dry-cured or brined (wet-cured) in sugar and salt. Often smoked subsequently. Pork taken from the loin (back) or belly (streaky).
Beef Bacon Non-pork eating Countries Bacon made from beef rather than pork, can be quite salty, particularly if crispy.
Biltong South Africa Strips of dried meat, usually game, which have been cured, lightly spiced and air-dried until quite hard. Needs to be cut with a knife and chewed, but produces a huge flavour and beats a bag of  sweets.
Black Pudding   Sausage of dried pigs blood, lard, onions, spices and milk, cooked and cooled. Can be eaten cold, usually hot.
Bresoala Valtellina, Italy beef, cured in wine and little salt, then air dried to a point where dry but not tough.
Bundner-fleisch Switzerland Similar to Bresoala above.
Cacciatori/Cacciatorini Italy Salami from coarsely minced pork, cured for at least 3 months.
Carpaccio Harry's Bar, Venice Very thin slices of uncooked beef. Now often used as term for very fine cut slices of food in general.
Chorizo Iberian Penisnsular, Spain Pork sausage, spiced with paprika amongst other things, and air dried. Usually ready to eat but can be bought fresh, which needs cooking.
Corned Beef UK/USA/NZ/AUS Beef, brined with salt and sugar, and boiled.
Gammon UK Name used for brined/cured  uncooked rear leg of pork. Gamon steak is a slice of meat from a gammon, approx 1cm thick, that is then grilled.
Ham   Cured (& sometimes smoked) rear leg of pork. No longer made from pork shoulder.

Iberico Ham

(Jamon Iberico)

Sierra de Aracena, Spain Ham made from black Iberico (pata negre) pigs. The best is Iberico de Bellota, where the pigs have been allowed graize acorns on a free-range basis. The acorns really come through in the taste.
Jambon France French ham
Jerky USA Strips of lean beef, spiced (often quite heavily), cured and air dried. Cut into pieces to chew as a snack.
Liverwurst/Leberwurst Germany Pork belly, lard and pork liver sausage, brined and cooked. Eaten cold.
Pancetta Italy Bacon cured from belly pork, eaten as is or cubed and cooked.
Parma Ham Emilia-Romagna & Lombardy, Italy Best known type of prosciutto, but less common than it appears as highly regulated. Firm meat, but tender and full of flavour.
Pastrami Czech Republic Jewish "ham" made from beef (brisket) and spiced to make it more interesting.
Pulled Pork USA Shoulder of pork, seasoned and spiced, then slow roasted in a hot smoker.
Prosciutto Italy Cured ham from all over Italy, frequently mistaken for Parma Ham, the best known of prosciuttos. Firm, dencse meat, but tender with a deep flavour.
Salami Italy Pork and/or horse, plus lard, seasoned with spices, and forced into a natural sausage skin before being hung in a maturing cupboard for 2-4 months to shrink and cure.
Salaison a Sec France Dry salted belly pork
Salt Beef England Beef, usually topside or silverside, brined in a salt and sugar aquous solution for several days, then rinced and pot-roasted.
Serrano Ham Serrano, Spain Ham with an Intense flavour and dense texture that comes from dry-curing for minimum 12 months.
Smoked Beef UK Beef, cured with sugar and water, then smoked, frequently over oak or old whisky barrels.
Spiced Beef Scotland/Ireland Beef, cured and seasoned with cinnamon and light spices before boiling. Primarily made at Christmas time.
Sweet-cured Beef Tombuie, Scotland Beef, dry-cured and marinated in light spices, then sliced thin to produce a distinctive texture: firm yet moist and not chewy.
Whisky-Infused Smoked Venison Scotland Venison, seasoned and steeped in whisky then smoked or cured then smoked over old whisky barrels.
Venison (Smoked) UK vension, usually from red deer, either dry or wet cured, then smoked. Smoking over wood from old whisky barrels provides as different twist.
Wisps of Scotch Lamb Tombuie, Scotland Wafer thin slices of oak-smoked lamb invented for the Bocuse d'Or 2011, moist, melts on the tongue. Best served with a nice Chablis and great company.


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Tel: (0)1573 410797

Market news

Following the success of our Hardiesmill Beef, we regret that time constraints have forced us to suspend day-to-day production of much of our range of Tombuie Charcuterie. If you have a requirement for a specific event, please call us on +44 1573 410797 or emial: .


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