Cutting is not just a necessity procedure but rather a culinary “act”, in other words, an art. Indeed, the antique figure of the carver, the person responsible for cutting the meat in the aristocratic banquets of yore, was considered a prestigious role.
Correctly cutting charcuterie helps exalt its organoleptic characteristics as well as enhancing its appearance: an excessively thick uneven slice, or too thin and tending to “crumble”, is never pleasant, and such treatment is even more “criminal” in the case of high quality cold cuts.
The cutting instruments must also be given due consideration. While the optimum cut is achieved by an expert and experienced hand, that knows how to accommodate the “lines of weakness” of the meat with a delicate and decisive pressure, this also requires the appropriate tools: steel knives have proven to be the best, because unlike the old iron knives they do not react with the fat to encourage oxidation, producing a typical “metallic” taste.
For cutting certain particularly prestigious, well cured products a hand carver remains obligatory even today.
However, in general charcuterie is cut using a meat slicer, a technological masterpiece invented by the Bologna mechanic Luigi Giusti in 1862, the patent for which was purchased by Berkel some years later.