Since the 1950s exports of Sibiu salami have grown exponentially, due to increasingly large demand from countries like Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Israel, Belgium, Sweden, and the USSR.
Considering the enthusiastic feedback of consumers and viewing exports as a core priority of industrial production, the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party considered the opportunity of manufacturing this type of sausage at a national level.
Thus, between 1971 and 1974 a new factory was built in Mediaș. The 1974 five-year development plan envisioned the construction, across Romania, of another three factories of Sibiu salami, in Bacău, Bihor, and Galați; the first two opened during the subsequent years and started producing increasingly large quantities.
The start of production in Bacău was marked by an unusual incident. The sausage factory already operating there was using its attic to dry a type of semi-dry season salami for Christmas, because the place ensured moderate ventilation and a lower temperature. Probably in the rush of the winter holidays, three carts of the product were left in the attic, only to be discovered by the factory manager three months later. The salami was perfectly preserved, although moldy, white-yellowish in color but with a delicious tase.
It was hence by a stroke of luck that people discovered they could make Sibiu salami in that area, too, and the manager of the Bacău factory notified the leadership of the ministry in charge. Tests started at the factory after a technical team received training in Sinaia. In 1974 a vast upgrading project began there, and the new Sibiu salami factory was built in Bacău.
As distribution was sorely lacking during the communist years, domestic market delivery was made mostly to the areas near factories and their own retail networks.
Immediately after the fall of Communism the opening of new production facilities (for instance at Călărași and Brașov-Feldioara) contributed to fueling the product’s reputation and keeping consumers’ attention alive.
There are currently five certified producers across the whole designated geographical area (Sinaia, Brașov-Feldioara, Călărași, Bacău, Sibiu).
Sausage makers started producing Sibiu salami since 1895. At the beginning of the 19th century XIX the local sausage makers adapted the recipe and passed it on from one generation to the next. It was thus that the winter salami became Sibiu salami.
Beyond technology, the state-of-the-art factory equipment, beyond the storage facilities or the equipment for the control and monitoring of temperature and humidity, the human factor is still crucial in making Sibiu salami. A very important role belonged – and it still does – to the master sausage makers, who leave their imprint on the quality of the salami that ends up on consumers’ tables, and whose artistry still determines the particularities that make this a valuable product.
The visual and tactile assessment of the sausage mixture, ground to the size of a rice grain, manually sprinkling the salt and spice mix, the manual checking of the firmness of the sausage throughout the process of smoking, curing, and drying, placing the product in storage by hand, choosing the right time to brush the casing and hand brushing each piece of salami, are all extremely important aspects that help this product keep its universally appreciated quality.
It is only the artistry of these craftsmen that, above and beyond all common knowledge, can point to the right time to do something one way instead of another. This ability is the heritage passed down from generations, a piece of knowledge shared by all those involved in making Sibiu salami.
The assimilation of this knowledge and experience preserved the continuity of a product that is appreciated both in Romania and abroad.