The tasty cured meat is so linked to the Emilian capital that many, in the world, know it by the name of “Bologna”
The art of Italian cured meats is known all over the world and its oldest traces are found since the pre-Roman era.
The need to transform pork into a valuable and long-lasting product led to research for new methods of preservation and, consequently, to create different varieties of cured meat.
Among the thousand delicatessens, one, in particular, boasts a rich history of testimonies, faithfully traced and preserved: the Mortadella of Bologna IGP.
It is enough to go to the Archaeological Civic Museum of the city, to retrace the steps in search of its origins, rooted in the ancient Etruscan Felsina and the Bonomia of Gauls Boi.
Already considered by the Romans a work of great food craftsmanship, it is in 1661 that its production is codified thanks to the ban issued by Cardinal Girolamo Farnese to protect it from imitations and counterfeits: one of the first examples of disciplinary, ancestor of the current IGP and DOP marks.
Moreover, the Mortadella of Bologna was considered a product intended for the tables of the nobility and the upper bourgeoisie… Suffice it to say that the price was three times higher than that of ham, given its special workmanship that required highly specialized artisans.
The production was regulated by the Corporation of Salaroli, one of the oldest in Bologna, which then applied the required guarantee seals on the precious sausage. Only with the advent and the spread of the health industry, in the nineteenth century, Mortadella gets rid of this elitist aura, invading the tables of every social class and becoming a product accessible to all, even to the workers that have made the sandwich with mortadella a great popular symbol.
Protecting it, however, is not an exquisitely old necessity: 3 years after obtaining the IGP mark, in 2001 the Mortadella Bologna IGP Consortium was established to continue to preserve this product heavily subject to counterfeiting.
To be considered Mortadella di Bologna IGP and thus awarded the brand, good pink cured meat must meet several requirements, starting from the original recipe that includes pork shoulder, throat (cured pork cheek), chopped ham, peppercorns, and a pinch of garlic, all strictly stewed, not smoked.
The selected pork meat is passed in 3 mincers to obtain a creamy emulsion, enriched with salt, pepper, and fat cubes cooked (minimum 15% according to the Disciplinary). Once the dough has been bagged, the stewing phase begins in rooms saturated with dry air, with cooking times ranging between 8 and 26 hours, until they have been reached 70 C to the heart. After this period, we move to the shower in cold water, then to cooling in the cell.
With its unmistakable, intense, and slightly spicy aroma, Bologna Mortadella IGP is the fundamental ingredient for the filling of tortellini and the lesser-known balanzoni, but you can also try it in the mousse version, a great classic of Bolognese appetizers.