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Capocollo [kapoˈkɔllo], also known as [gaba'goul] (in certain parts of the United States, notably among Italian-Americans in New Jersey, as made famous by the HBO Television series "The Sopranos"; cappicola, coppa in Canada, capicollo or capicolla), is a traditional Italian pork cold cut (salume) made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the 4th or 5th rib of the pork shoulder or neck. The name capocollo comes from capo ("head") and collo ("neck"). It is a whole muscle salume, dry cured and, typically, sliced very thin. It is similar to the more widely known cured ham or prosciutto, because they are both pork-derived cold-cuts that are used in similar dishes. However, coppa is not brined as ham typically is.
Manufacture and use
In its production, capocollo is first lightly seasoned often with red and sometimes white wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices that differ depending on region. The meat is then salted (and was traditionally massaged) and stuffed into a natural casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. Sometimes the exterior is rubbed with hot paprika before being hung and cured. Differences in flavor also depend on what type of wood the producer uses for smoking, and the breed of pig. Capocollo is essentially the pork counterpart of the air dried, cured beef bresaola. It is widely available wherever there are significant Italian communities, thanks to commercially produced varieties. There is also a slow-roasted Piedmontese version called coppa cotta.
Capocollo is esteemed for its delicate flavor and tender, fatty texture and is often more expensive than most other salumi. In many countries, it is often sold as a gourmet food item. It is usually sliced thin for use in antipasto or sandwiches such as muffulettas, Italian grinders and subs, and panini as well as some traditional Italian pizza.
Varieties and official status
Two particular varieties, Coppa Piacentina and Capocollo di Calabria, have Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) status under the Common Agricultural Policy of European Union law, which ensures that only products genuinely originating in those regions are allowed in commerce as such.
Four additional Italian regions produce capocollo, and are not covered under European law, but are designated as "Prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale" (P.A.T.) by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies:
- Capocollo della Basilicata
- Capocollo del Lazio
- Capocollo tipico senese (finocchiata) (from Toscana)
- Capocollo dell'Umbria
- Canadian Oxford Dictionary 2nd ed., 2004.
- "Coppa Piacentina DOP". www.academiabarilla.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Capocollo di Calabria DOP". www.academiabarilla.com. Academia Barilla. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Elenco delle Schede dei Prodotti Agroalimentari Tipici e Tradizionali della Basilicata" (in Italian).
- "Schede prodotti tipici Lazio" (in Italian).
- "Elenco prodotti Toscana, con schede" (in Italian).
- "Elenco delle Schede dei Prodotti Agroalimentari Tradizionali dell’Umbria" (in Italian).
- Schapira (1994) p. 52
- "Coppa de Corse". www.charcuteriedecorse.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
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