The meat preservation method of salting and drying is extremely ancient, and Bresaola shares it with other somewhat similar products:
• Bindenfleisch or Bundnerfleisch, originating from the Canton of the Grisons and available both in Switzerland and in Germany, is overall the most similar product to the Italian deli meat, but it is characterized by stronger drying;
• Suschenaja govjadina, from Southern Russia, can be obtained from almost all bovine muscles, which are salted in a saltpetre solution, then smoked and dried;
• Suho meso, from the Slavic countries, is processed with strong salting and partial drying and is generally cooked;
• Biltong, from Africa, is produced from muscles of cattle, antelopes and sheep, and processed with salting and hard drying;
• Finally, Charque dulce from Brazil, Tasaio from South America, Penmikam from Canada and Deng-deng from India are dried products, but they are not salted.
The generally low temperature, very dry air and the particular conformation of the Sondrio Province, which matches as a whole the protected area of origin, enable the product to be preserved even with light salting. As a result, the product is soft and moderately savoury.
The production technique, originally only aiming at preserving the meat for a long period, has been perfected and enriched over centuries, refining the quality of the product, which sweeter, softer and more pleasant to the palate today than it was in the past.
The rise in production to meet the increasing demand has not undermined the original quality of the product or its typical character. Meanwhile, the provisions of the Production Regulations complemented the traditional lore of operators and labourers with the quality and hygiene safety of the product, and granted the consistency of sensory properties. Each producer holds small production secrets that make their product distinguishable from all others, while meeting the minimum basic requirements that allow the Bresaola to get the recognition of Protected Geographical Indication.
The first literary evidence of Bresaola production dates back to the XV century, but the typical deli meat had surely been created earlier. The production only served family needs until the first decades of the XIX century. During the XIX century, the craft processing of the deli meat flourished and the product was exported to Switzerland. Today, the product is regularly found on Italian dinner tables and is conquering new markets abroad.