The Emilia Romagna region was first occupies by the Etruscans and then by the Gauls. Over the course of the centuries, a serious pork culture developed in the area. The pigs thrived on the large quantity of quality feed they found in the numerous forests that covered a large part of the region in the past.
Mortadella dates back to the Roman Ages and documentation shows that the Romans used to grind pork together with spices or salt in mortars. The word mortar comes from the Latin “murtatum”, meaning meat ground in a mortar, and may also be the origin of the word mortadella.
In all of the Etruscan territories, incasing ground meat was common practice and specific varieties developed. Some of these may be related to Mortadella di Bologna. Mortadella made in Bologna is the most famous type of mortadella and its popularity spread over time and into neighboring regions. Mortadella was used to barter and regularly traded since the middle of the 14th century.
The area of production of this encased sausage extends beyond Emilia Romagna, into the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Trentino, Marche, Tuscany and Lazio.
Mortadella di Bologna IGP
Mortadella di Bologna is made using a blend of finely ground pork, strips of lard taken from the neck area, salt, whole peppercorns, spices and aromatic herbs and occasionally shelled pistachios. The mixture is stuffed into a natural or synthetic casing and then cooked. The sausages is cooked in stoves with dry heat until the internal temperature reaches 158°F. The mortadella is then cooled quickly until it is about 50°F and stored in refrigerated cells in order to conserve the sausage’s aroma and flavor.
To serve, mortadella can be sliced by machine or cut into cubes and eaten as an Italian antipasto together with breadsticks and crackers. It can also be used in pasta-fillings, like the classic tortellini bolognesi, or paired with cheese or in salads.