Salame Rosa: Mortadella’s hidden brother

salame rosa bologna

Everybody knows about mortadella. It’s called “Bologna” all round the world except in Bologna. It’s delicious and represents a part of Italy. 
Today I’d like to talk about the less famous and almost disappeared brother of mortadella. It’s called Salame Rosa (pink salami with a roasted aroma). and during our Bologna food tour it’s always a nice and unexpected surprise.

Bologna holds many secrets: From the unexpected river that suddenly appears in some parts of the city, to mysterious sayings and strange images drawn under its iconic porticos, to gastronomic delicacies unique to the region.

Recently, Dolceterra discovered the existence of a kind of handmade cold cut that once was endemic throughout the city. But over time, it has practically disappeared from shops and tables: the salame rosa (in English, pink salami.)

In fact, it is not salami as we know it (i.e. aged sausage, with pieces of fat clearly separated from the dark red meat) but is almost a halfway between a top quality ham and Bolognese mortadella. The surprising flavor is full of personality – it reminds me of roasted meat – and is mild. Since it is relatively lean, one can savor the taste of the meat combined with the smoothness of the fat. It is really amazing and has already become one of my favorite treats.

Actually, the old recipe is kept secret by some of the few “salumai bolognesi” (Bolognese experts in cold cuts) that still produce it, but basically it consists of a mix of lean pork meat (particularly from the shoulder) cut “in punta di coltello” (with the sharp end of the knife); which is then incorporated with guanciale (a very tasteful Italian salume made with pork cheek, providing the necessary amount of fat); and then, finally seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic.

This whole procedure takes place without the use of machines or mincers. It is accomplished entirely made by hand. Once all the ingredients are mixed, the compound is stuffed into an edible casing that protects the product while it’s cooked in a dry oven for 15 to 24 hours.

The traditional shapes are similar to the ones of the Bolognese mortadella and vary from 1,10/2,20 lbs (Whole), but it’s also possible to find  largest versions (22 lbs!). The bad news is that salame rosa becomes harder to find each day. Currently, you can only buy the delicacy in two places in Bologna and online on

It is really a shame that a product like this is being forgotten, because we’re talking about something indeed special – both the taste and the whole tradition behind the entire production process are unique.

Salame Rosa is produced from selected pork cuts , entirely handmade. The lean part is made from chopped opted to shoulder and ham. Only the parts corresponding to the long muscles are used, to maintain the characteristic light color during cooking and in the finished produc (hence the name “ Salame Rosa”). The fat part is derived exclusively from the cheek lard, cutted into cubes and mixed with the addition of salt, garlic and pepper. Then the salami is cooked in a dry over for 15-24 hours. 
The result is a sausage which has the shape of a mortadella , but with a roasted aroma. 

Product Recommendations:
Salame Rosa of Bologna