What Is Capicola and How Does It Taste?


Ancient Mesopotamians dried meat and fish in salt to preserve them from 3000 B.C. Curing meat was typical all through the Roman empire, with various desiccated carnivorous pleasures utilised in houses, battles, and holy presents. Since Roman instances, cured meat has grown, despite the fact that Italians nonetheless decide on pig.

Italy makes masses of salumi using two approaches. The first includes substantially salting and growing old large slices of meat for plenty months, while the second includes seasoning and casing various meaty elements. Capicola, or gabagool, is a favourite cured meat in case you’re a fan of “The Sopranos.”

We wanted to discover ways to consume and locate Tony Soprano’s preferred dish. Allow us to examine the history and meticulous introduction of capicola, one in all Italy’s quality cured meats.

Is capicola?

Capicola, coppa, capocollo or cappacuolo ham is called from its flesh cut. The capo and collo of a pig are related by way of this incision from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib. The lean-to-fat ratio of this pig cut, more or less 70/30, makes it juicy in comparison to other dry-cured salumi.

Though techniques for making ready this piece of beef are as varied as human beings, it’s miles typically brined in garlic, wine, herbs, and spices before being wrapped in salt. The beef is cleaned and reseasoned after a quick cooling. Red pepper, fennel, coriander, paprika, and aniseed are regular. The meat is hanged in a natural pig casing to dry-therapy for 4–6 months. It may be eaten raw, smoked, or slow-roasted as coppa cotta.

Though comparable entire-muscle salumi may be determined global, capicola become to start with manufactured in northern Italy, specifically Piacenza and Calabria. EU-blanketed designation of beginning applies to capicola from any of those. This guarantees that capicola is produced locally from farm to desk.

How does capicola look?

The beef shoulder used determines the size of a whole capicola, which can be 2 to three kilos. Unless aged longer, capicola loses 35% of its moisture all through curing.

Because it’s miles a complete pig reduce, capicola has a distinctive interior than sausage-style salumi. Capicola is more various than blended meat salumi, which is a combination of meat portions properly-seasoned and filled right into a casing then dry-cured. Fat veins are striated all through the flesh, that’s vivid pink to salmon-colored.

Thinly sliced capicola may also show the dry-cured seasoning mix on its out of doors. With too much pink pepper and paprika, the meat may additionally turn orange round the edges. Less colourful spices won’t colour things.

Smoked or sluggish-roasted coppa cotta has a subdued inner shade and no curing spices at the out of doors. Fat veins continue to be glaring, however they develop greater opaque, turning into off-white in preference to snowy.

How does capicola taste?

Some of capicola’s rich flavour comes from the reduce of meat. Due to the shoulder’s high fat content material, this salumi is creamier than other entire-meat salumis yet still chewy. It’s now not gristly like sausage-style salumi. Smoked or slow-roasted gammon is juicier and loses a part of its bite.

Since flavour and fragrance are closely connected, we might be negligent no longer to statement that capicola’s gently sweet and peppery nose with a tinge of porky gaminess is evocative of bacon, particularly when smoked. Cooked capicola reduces this.

Melting a thin slice of capicola brings out the whole flavour of the spices used to cure it. The meat will expand fennel, coriander, or aniseed flavours as you prepare dinner it. What sort and amount of pepper or paprika was used may affect the heat. The wine or garlic may additionally provide sweetness to the curing’s saltiness. Italians and non-Italians adore it because it’s umami-packed.

Taste and Texture

The flavor of capicola is a satisfying aggregate of savory, salty, and slightly highly spiced notes. Here’s a better look at its flavor and texture:

Savory: Capicola’s flavor is undeniably savory, with a mentioned umami best. This savory richness comes from the sluggish curing process, which permits the beef to develop complicated flavors through the years.

Salty: Like many cured meats, capicola has a salty flavor. The salt now not simplest acts as a preservative however also enhances the general taste profile of the meat.

Spicy: The use of crimson and black pepper within the curing process offers capicola a mild spiciness. It’s no longer overwhelmingly warm but offers a pleasing warmth that enhances the savory and salty factors of the meat.

Fatty: Capicola’s marbling, a result of the fats content inside the meat, contributes to its smooth and succulent texture. The fat additionally includes flavor, making every chunk pretty enjoyable.

Texture: Capicola has a tender, soften-in-your-mouth texture. It’s normally sliced thinly, which enhances its delicate mouthfeel. The aggregate of lean meat and fats creates a really perfect stability it is neither too difficult nor too greasy.

What distinguishes capicola from prosciutto?

Both capicola and prosciutto are whole-meal salumi, even though they differ. The meat used—capicola from the fatty shoulder and prosciutto from the thinner hindquarters—is the principle distinction. Parma and San Daniele residents like prosciutto.

Their length is also exceptional, with the capicola being smaller. This relies upon on reduce, breed, and age of pig. Southern pigs like Apulo-Calabrese produce capicola. Eight months old and 300 pounds, those animals are slaughtered. Landrace, big white, and Duroc northern breeds are at the least nine months vintage and approximately 360 pounds whilst processed for prosciutto.

Finally, guidance differs. It takes years to remedy prosciutto. It’s additionally pro gently, with salt and pepper and every so often juniper berries and rosemary. It tastes gentler. The extended curing manner yields lighter-coloured, denser, and greater luxurious meat.

Cooking with capicola

Capicola has numerous culinary makes use of outside topping charcuterie or antipasto platters. Its really highly spiced flavour and marbled texture make it a first-rate addition to carbonara, penne alla vodka, or pizza. The capicola fat will render whilst baking, giving the pie juiciness and flavour. To spotlight the capicola, use a slight marinara, clean mozzarella, and basil.

Capicola is popular in salads and sandwiches. It could be scrumptious in a panini, but it’s far most regarded for its use inside the muffuletta, a New Orleans delicacy. This sandwich has three substances, consequently they should be right. A round ciabatta or comparable baguette can also absorb the olive salad, a giardiniera-tapenade. These are topped with mixed cold cuts with different flavours and textures. When constructed, the sandwich sits till the contents soak into the bread.

Ways to Enjoy Capicola

Capicola’s versatility allows it to polish in numerous culinary packages. Here are a few delicious approaches to revel in this Italian cured meat:

Antipasto Platter: Capicola is a have to-have on any Italian antipasto platter. Pair it with different cured meats, cheeses, olives, and bread for a satisfying appetizer.

Sandwiches: Add thin slices of capicola to your sandwiches and subs for a further layer of taste. It pairs specifically nicely with sparkling mozzarella, roasted crimson peppers, and arugula.

Pizza Topping: Sprinkle capicola for your homemade or pizzeria-offered pizza for a spicy kick and an indulgent twist.

Pasta: Incorporate capicola into pasta dishes like carbonara or toss it with linguine and garlic for a fast and tasty meal.

Salads: Use capicola as a protein in salads, mainly those with a Mediterranean or Italian twist. Its savory and highly spiced flavors will elevate your salad to a whole new level.

Capicola nutrition

Moderation is crucial for cured meat vitamins. Capicola has masses of protein, iron, and nutrition B12, yet it could have sure drawbacks. Capicola is flavoured through the fattiness of shoulder meat. This shows excessive fats. A two-ounce portion comprises 10 grammes of fat and 3.5 grammes of saturated fats. Only 10% of your day by day energy need to be saturated fats, says the Mayo Clinic. That have to be 22 grammes for a 2,000-calorie-a-day character.

Capicola consists of 840 milligrammes of sodium consistent with serving, 35% of the endorsed each day quantity, which can also worry persons with high blood strain or renal sickness. Finally, manufacturers may also upload nitrates or nitrites to capicola. Nitrates and nitrites beautify belly cancer hazard, according to a 2015 PubMed have a look at.

Final capicola feedback. Majority of capicola is gluten-free. Microbes in uncooked meats may additionally contaminate pregnant girls, so avoid capicola.

Shop for capicola

The resources to buy capicola are almost limitless, depending on the sort. Local butcher stores, huge supermarket chains, Italian area of expertise markets and Amazon Fresh and Instacart promote pre-made capicola. Spice level, production location, and smoking fame might assist you select. It can be pre-cut or sliced to request.

Different capicola sandwiches are available at many places. Find a conventional Italian deli or butcher with a prepared food counter. Many of them make a delicious muffuletta at home.

Finally, creative humans need to create capicola themselves using a package. Purchase complete kits with thorough instructions on line from many sources. This helps you to personalize spices and recipes. Be positive to comply with the directions to guarantee pathogen-free meat.

Storage of capicola

Don’t store capicola or cured meat to begin. Purchase freshly sliced capicola in the quantity required for a dinner or event. When sliced, cured meats oxidise and lose flavour. Cure meats may be saved in numerous approaches.

Contrary to not unusual opinion, cured meats have to be refrigerated as soon as purchased for safety, even if they’ll mature for months! Pre-sliced capicola must be left in the field it came in, divided with the aid of deli paper, or transferred to an hermetic field. Keep this in the fridge far from light and other foods that could absorb the strong scent and flavours. Always use your nose and eyes, despite the fact that the box has an expiry date. Discard discoloured or smelly meat. An opened box generally lasts five days.

Freezing capicola is possible, however no longer recommended. Most cured meats lose an excessive amount of flavour and texture to be recognisable after freezing. You can also freeze capicola portions for spaghetti or risotto. After wrapping in deli paper and aluminium foil, placed them in a freezer bag with the freezing date. Never save frozen cured meat for greater than three months.


Capicola, with its savory, salty, and slightly highly spiced flavor, is a treasure amongst Italian cured meats. Whether loved on its own or included into various dishes, it provides a burst of flavor and a hint of indulgence to your culinary creations. So, the next time you stumble upon this delectable charcuterie, don’t hesitate to present it a attempt to relish the rich and complicated flavors of capicola.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Capicola and Its Taste

Q1. What is capicola?

Capicola, also called coppa or gabagool in a few areas, is a sort of Italian cured meat crafted from the muscle jogging from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of a pig. It is seasoned with a mixture of salt, black and purple pepper, and different spices, then air-dried for numerous months to increase its unique flavor.

Q2. How does capicola taste?

Capicola has a savory, salty, and slightly highly spiced flavor. It is also rich in umami, thanks to the curing procedure. The marbling of fats inside the meat offers it a gentle and succulent texture, whilst the spices upload a slight spiciness.

Q3. Is capicola highly spiced?

Yes, capicola has a moderate spiciness, generally because of using pink and black pepper during the curing process. However, it is no longer overly hot; as a substitute, it offers a pleasant warmth that complements its other flavors.

Q4. Can I consume capicola on its own?

Absolutely! Capicola is frequently enjoyed on its very own as a charcuterie item. It makes for an top notch addition to cheese and charcuterie forums, providing a flavorful and savory alternative for snacking.

Q5. How have to I serve capicola?

Capicola may be served in numerous methods. It’s fantastic in sandwiches, salads, on pizzas, or as a part of an antipasto platter. Thinly sliced capicola works well in most dishes wherein you want to feature a salty, savory, and slightly highly spiced meat.

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