Salami are cured sausages which vary enormously across Italy and are exported widely. They are not generally cooked, are frequently spiced and may be made with minced pork or have beef added, and with chunks of fat, the mixture bound with wine, often with flavourings such as peppercorns, garlic or fennel. The mixture is put into casingsand the resulting sausage is marinated in brine and then air dried.
There are essentially three kinds: fresh, dried and aged or pre-cooked. They may be smoked and are most often sliced and served cold as part of an antipasto. Casings may either be natural, made from the intestines or bladder or artificially made from skin, cellulose or polyvinyl.
Salami arose out of the need to conserve meat over the winter, using local ingredients to improve the flavour and quality. Salame in rare cases also refers to a salami-shaped roll or loaf of some other food.