22 September

Natural charcuterie: Breeding, farming, natural preservatives

Bra-Principi di Piemonte

To talk of the origins of a cured meat, we must start with the animal breed and the practices used to raise it.

There are cured meats made with the meat of native breeds, raised in wild or semi-wild conditions, free to follow their natural instincts, fed well, supplementing what they find rooting around in the open with green fodder and cereals made with corn, barley, wheat, bran, and leguminous proteins. It’s easy to see why the meat of animals raised with a natural lifestyle and a healthy diet is capable of being transformed into natural charcuterie, produced using natural preservatives like salt, pepper, chili pepper, spices and smoke.

On the other hand, there are industrial farms, where animals are often confined in cramped spaces, with little or no possibility to move, play or explore. Their diet contains urea, silage, and genetically-modified feed which aid the animals to grow bigger and faster, along with antibiotics, hormones, coccidiostats and artificial stimulants. The list goes on in the production of cured meats which use starters, colorants, preservatives, caseinates, thickeners, nitrites and nitrates which conserve the meat from microbial contamination, but also to improve its consistency and appearance.

What are the environmental impacts of these wildly different systems? Can animal welfare make a difference in terms of taste? What should we keep in mind in order to look after our own health?

We might be tempted to think that farms which are respectful of animal welfare automatically produce natural charcuterie using only natural preservatives. But unfortuntaly that’s not the case: often farmers who work with high-quality meat use nitrites and nitrates when curing the meat.


Alcide Boullis, farmer of the Western White Pig breed (Ark of Taste)

Vittorio Fusari, member of the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance and producer of natural charcuterie

Luca Garavaglia, veterinarian and producer of Varzese Cattle (Slow Food Presidium)

Jacopo Goracci, farmer at the Tenuta di Paganico

Stefano Liberti, writer and journalist

Emilia Brezzo, Agenform


Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity


Free entry while seats last. Auditorium CRB Bra: via Adolfo Sarti, 8.

22 September

16:00 - 18:00

Auditorium CRB