The term Bresaola, originally brazaola, brisaola or bresavola, has a very uncertain origin. Indeed, while the suffix ‘saola’ can easily be referred to the use of salt for the product preservation, finding a single interpretation for the origin of the whole term is much more difficult.
According to a first interpretation, the etymology can be found in the Germanic term ‘brasa’, meaning ember, because braziers were used in ancient times to heat and dry the air of the facilities where ageing took place. The braziers produced aromatic smoke, obtained by putting juniper berries and laurel leaves on fir-wood hot coals.
According to another interpretation, instead, the name derives from the local dialect term ‘brisa’, indicating a very salty bovine gland. Today the expression “As salty as brisa” is still used to mean “much salted meat”. Over time, the original name ‘brisaola’ turned into the currently used term ‘bresaola’.