The talk of the Town. Seriously, the LA Times described it as ‘THE trendy Italian meat with 1,000 years of staying power’.
Mortadella di Bologna – the best-known variety – is made from cured, ground and emulsified pork with at least 15% white fat cubes, plus whole or chopped pistachios nuts and a unique blend of spices.
Its signature dotted look is achieved by adding the extra fat content and the most common spices used are black pepper, coriander, anise, mace, even caraway or myrtle berries. In Spain, they may add olives, in Portugal red peppers.
Once you’ve eaten Mortadella, beware – it can be addictive! The primary flavour is of rich, fatty pork with hints of spice. If this sounds that it might overwhelm your palate – relax – as due to the fact the meat is emulsified, the flavours are very well-balanced, rich and lingering and the texture smooth and velvety.
The dots of fat are misleading when it comes to Mortadella’s nutritional value. In truth, the dots are mostly beneficial unsaturated fats similar to olive oil.
In Ancient Rome, where it was first developed, Mortadella was known as ‘Mortarium’ meaning minced or pounded in a mortar. This technique was adopted in Bologna, a city famed for Mortadella production. Another theory is that it is named after a sausage flavoured with myrtle berries that Romans called farcimen myrtatum – Take your pick.
Each Salumificio (cured meat factory) may have had its own techniques, but…
Mortadella was the food of the nobility as only the nobility could afford such a piece of equipment as a grinder. It is labour intensive and extremely hard to make without one – give it a go and you’ll find out just how hard.
Actually No…. Bologna is produced differently. The fat and meat are emulsified into a uniform mixture which can make it bland by comparison.
Bologna can be made with pork and beef whereas Mortadella is solely a pork meat product and often preservatives are added to Bologna making it more processed, less “natural”. They both have their fans and uses, but there is a clear distinction.
Mortadella is a very versatile Charcuterie…
If your Mortadella has an S stamped on the skin. it is the real Mortadella di Bologna.
If you have enjoyed this article, Subscribe Now for notice of the next ‘What Is…’ feature along with all the latest news and updates from World Charcuterie Awards….
* Required Field