Bresaola della Valtellina (Valtellina dried beef)
IGP Bresaola della Valtellina is an Italian product made from beef, salted and naturally cured, to be consumed uncooked. Its shape is that of the muscles used to make it. For commercial exigencies, these are modified and thus take on a cylinder-like shape. For specific needs they may be pressed into a brick-like shape. The muscle masses from the leg of beef used for making Bresaola della Valtellina are the following:
a) top side: the posteromedial portion of the leg muscles, including the internal straight muscle, the abductor muscle and the semimembranous muscle;
b) "punta d'anca": the part of the top side without the abductor muscle;
c) top beef: the posterolateral portion of the leg muscles, i.e. the musculus biceps femoris;
d) eye round: the posterolateral portion of the leg muscles, i.e. the semitendinous muscle;
e) thick flank: the anterior fascia of the leg, composed of the anterior straight muscle and the lateral, medial and intermediate great muscles.
Bresaola della Valtellina must be stuffed in natural or artificial casings, dried and cured in climatic conditions suitable for determining, during the slow and gradual reduction of moisture, the development of natural fermentative and enzymatic phenomena, such as to bring about changes which give the product its typical organoleptic characteristics and which guarantee its preservation and wholesomeness at normal room temperature
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA: By ancient tradition, the production area of Bresaola della Valtellina is limited to the entire area of the province of Sondrio. "Valtellina" is the name of the main valley in the province.
EVIDENCE OF ORIGIN: Bresaola della Valtellina owes its name and reputation to the geographical area from where it originally came. In ancient times, the method of preserving all types of meat by drying and salting was widely used. The increase and diversification in food production and the use of various preservation methods have superseded the use of dried salted meats. Writings from as early as the 1400s bear witness to the salting and drying of legs of beef in the Valtellina. The origin of the name appears to go back to "salaa come brisa" in Valtellina dialect, which became "brisaola", later Italianised into "bresaola". The Italian language dictionary (Nuovissimo Palazzi, 1974 edition) defines the word "bresaola" as "a type of dried and salted beef from the Valtellina". Industriousness and technical skill, perfected and handed down traditionally among those who produce it, are also essential elements for the obtaining of this product whose particular characteristics are still today connected with environmental as well as human factors.
LINK: The requirements for Bresaola della Valtellina depend on the environmental conditions and on natural and human factors. The particular climatic conditions of the Valtellina (which stretches longitudinally between the Rhaetian Alps and the Orobie Pre-Alps) have made it possible to obtain a processed meat product from the leg of beef with light salting which has a delicate flavour and tenderness that make it very appetizing.
Reference: The European Commission