The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat bresaola. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What bresaola etiquette is

Bresaola etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat bresaola. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve bresaola to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat bresaola at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat bresaola

What you should know about bresaola

Bresaola is a cured meat product that originated in Northern Italy, specifically in the Lombardy region.

Bresaola typically has a dark red color, a lean texture, and a delicate, slightly sweet flavor. It is thinly sliced and has a slightly salty taste.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat bresaola

1) How to store bresaola

Store bresaola in a cool and dry place. Ideally, you should keep it in the fridge or freezer. In the pantry, you should be stored in an airtight container away from sunlight. Bresaola can last for up to a couple of weeks in the pantry, up to 3 months in the fridge, and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Store sliced or cooked bresaola in an airtight container in the fridge. Consume it within a few days.

2) How to clean bresaola

There is no need to clean bresaola.

Bresaola that has turned bad will have a sour or rancid smell, a slimy texture, or discoloration.

3) How to prepare & cook bresaola

Bresaola can be eaten both raw and cooked. It is typically served raw as an appetizer, either alone or with other meats and cheeses. It is also common in salads and sandwiches. To prepare bresaola for cooking, you can grill it, fry it, or bake it. Common appliances to cook bresaola include stovetops, ovens, and grills.

Bresaola is not suitable for vegans, but it can be suitable for those following a keto or paleo diet. There are no common allergies or food intolerances associated with bresaola, and there are no religious restrictions that forbid its consumption.

4) How to serve & present bresaola

Bresaola can be appropriate for any occasion, from formal dinners to casual lunches. You can serve it as a main course, appetizer, or side dish.

It is best to serve bresaola at room temperature on a wooden board or plate. You can serve it with a fork and knife or as finger food.

You can serve bresaola with accompaniments and seasonings, such as olives, pickles, mustard, and bread.

5) Food and wine to pair bresaola with

Bresaola pairs well with flavors such as lemon, black pepper, and garlic. You can pair it with vegetables such as arugula, radicchio, and cherry tomatoes. It pairs well with fruit such as figs, pears, and melon. Avoid pairing it with strong-tasting vegetables like onions or cabbage.

Bresaola goes well with a variety of cheeses, including Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, goat cheese, mozzarella, or mozzarella di bufala. It is not common to serve it with butter or cream.

It is not common to serve bresaola along with other meats or fish. However, you can pair it with charcuterie, smoked salmon, or smoked tuna.

Bresaola pairs well with red wines such as Chianti, Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese. It can also pair with white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Rosé wine, sparkling wine, dessert wine, beer, and spirits are not common pairings with bresaola.

6) How to eat bresaola

It is polite to eat bresaola with a fork and knife. On informal occasions, you can also eat it as finger food. The peel should be discarded.

Bresaola etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common bresaola etiquette mistakes:

  • 7/10. Not properly storing or preparing bresaola.
  • 6/10. Cutting bresaola too thick.

Additional information for properly serving bresaola

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Bresaola is lean meat and is relatively low in calories. A serving size of 2-3 slices (about 1 oz or 28 grams) contains around 70-90 calories, while 100 grams of bresaola contains approximately 200-250 calories. The calorie content may vary depending on the brand and preparation method.

How to buy the best bresaola

A crucial factor in bresaola etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Bresaola is typically available year-round, but its availability may vary depending on the region and the supplier. It is best to check with your local grocery store or specialty food store for availability.

Choose the best

Bresaola can be found in commerce in various forms, including fresh, cured, and dried. The most common way to find bresaola in commerce is in its cured and dried form, which is typically sold in vacuum-sealed packages.

The most popular varieties of bresaola in commerce include Bresaola della Valtellina, which is made from beef and originates from the Lombardy region of Italy. This variety is considered to be the most prized and is protected by a designation of origin.

When buying bresaola, it is important to look for high-quality meat that is lean, well-aged, and free from any signs of spoilage. Good quality bresaola should have a deep red color, a firm texture, and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It is also important to check the packaging date to ensure that the bresaola is fresh.

Alternatives to bresaola

Some common alternatives to bresaola include prosciutto, speck, and salami. These cured meats are similar in texture and flavor to bresaola and can be used in similar dishes. Vegetarian alternatives to bresaola include mushroom-based products or seitan.