The Alheira de Vinhais PGI is a sausage made from the meat of the pure bred or cross bred Bísaro pig (which must be at least 50% Bísaro). The other ingredients are chicken broth, local wheat bread, Tràs-os-Montes olive oil, salt, garlic and paprika.
The area where Alheira de Vinhais PGI is made covers several municipal areas in the Bragança district and various other municipal areas in the Vila Real district.
The pork is chopped into medium sized pieces and cooked in salted water together with chicken carcasses. The cooking time depends on the quantity of meat and the size of saucepan used. The broth obtained is used to soften the bread and make a paste which is seasoned with salt, garlic, paprika and olive oil, to which the minced pork is added. The resulting paste is stuffed into the skins which are twisted and knotted into their characteristic shape. They are smoked over a low fire of oak and chestnut wood. The sausages are then left to cure for at least eight days.
Appearance and Flavour
Alheira de Vinhais PGI sausage comes in a horse shoe shape about 30 cm long and weighs between 170 gr and 200 gr. It has a chestnut yellow colour and when cut has a smooth appearance with visible threads of meat. It has a pleasant smoky taste with an after taste of the chicken stock which has been used in its preparation.
The history of the Alheira de Vinhais PGI sausage is closely linked to the importance of pig breeding in this region, which is recorded by the statues and huge stone monoliths relating to pig rearing to be found in this area, as well as the many written records in municipal archives relating to the taxation of both pigs and the products derived from them.
The Alheira de Vinhais PGI must be stored in a fridge. This sausage must be cooked. Traditionally Alheira de Vinhais PGI was grilled on wood fires and eaten with potatoes and cooked vegetables.
This sausage is sold as Alheira de Vinhais PGI. Because of its nature and composition it is not suitable to be sold cut or sliced. It is sold whole and either prepacked in a controlled environment or vacuum packed.
The particular climate of the region, the traditional experience of the local population in pig breeding and the particular smoking process make Alheira de Vinhais PGI a unique sausage of its kind.