What is the difference between genoa salami and hard salami? I know genoa usually has the little peppercorns, but other than that, I find them very similar-tasting. I usually buy the cheap vacuum-sealed packets of both from Hormel (usually 3 for $5), but how much does the taste improve as you pay more for salami? Same with pepperoni -- I prefer it sliced thin and cold, rather than cooked crispy as a pizza topping, but how much better is the really expensive stuff?
I also love prosciutto -- it is probably my favorite salted, cured meat. But there's a "wet" kind and a much dryer kind that is considerably more expensive. What accounts for the price and taste difference there? I know prosciutto goes great with melon, but on the rare occasions I treat myself to a half pound from the deli, I usually end up eating the stuff plain, by itself, slice by slice... it's that damn good.