History of Salami in Australia

 In Bulletin

The History of Salami in Australia dates back to the two decades following the end of World War II in 1945. During this post-war era, more than two million immigrants, mostly from the United Kingdom and Europe, landed on Australia’s shores as part of our country’s newfound immigration policies.

Immediately after the war, displaced peoples from the eastern European countries were welcomed to Australia in the first wave of immigration. A second wave of immigrants from other regions of Europe arrived during the 50s and 60s.

Australia’s New Immigrants

Skilled or professional European male immigrants often experienced difficulty having their qualifications recognised. There were also language difficulties. Subsequently, many of these men were forced to fill the job vacancies in the coal and steel industries, rail and shipyards, and the construction industry building bridges, roads, houses, schools and offices in the rapidly expanding suburbs. Others found work on factory assembly lines while some worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Power Scheme. The wives of these men stayed at home with the children, connecting with other immigrants with whom they had a shared experience.

The Role of Food in Immigration

For many of these European immigrants arriving in Australia, food played a significant role.  Food was a way in which they could show loyalty to their homeland. Connecting over their traditional food and culture gave these immigrants a sense of community and belonging. However, in the kitchen of their hostels or community housing, the immigrants were usually faced with obstacles in sourcing the traditional ingredients they required. To overcome this, many grew their own fresh ingredients in small backyard gardens, a tradition that has been passed down through generations to this day.

Immigrants from Italy, the home of salami, as well as other European countries such as Hungary, France and Germany brought with them their family recipes for curing and preserving meats. While the kitchen was usually the wife’s domain, salami making was a different story. It was an activity for the men who would proudly prepare their salami following secret family recipes. In time, some of these European immigrants opened butcher shops from where they produced their traditional salumi using time honoured curing techniques from their homelands.

The Salami Tradition Lives On

Today, many Australian-Italian families still gather during the Winter months for salami making days; hanging their fresh salamis in garages and cool, dry spaces of their homes to ferment and age.

The History of Salami in Australia is less than 70 years old, but many of the age old techniques for curing are still being used by modern day salumi manufacturers. At Salumi Australia we are committed to preserving the traditional techniques of artisan salumi makers and we think you can taste the difference. We call it “the new old flavour”.