Mortadella Bologna PGI is a charcuterie product belonging to the cooked sausage category and is prepared with a mixture of pork cuts.
The production and processing area of Mortadella Bologna PGI is within the Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany, The Marches, Lazio regions and in the Autonomous Province of Trento.
The first processing stage consists of the selection of meat from the muscular layer and high quality fat; the latter is mainly taken from throat of the pig and constitutes the so-called “lard spots” in the Mortadella Bologna PGI. After trimming, the meat parts are minced mechanically. For the preparation of the lard spots, the fat is diced, heated, washed in water and drained. After the product has been mixed in vacuum machines, it is inserted in natural or synthetic casings and tied. Cooking is the most delicate stage of the process and takes place in dry air ovens; the centre of the product must reach a minimum temperature of 70°C. Cooling takes place immediately after this stage, until the internal temperature reaches less than 10°C.
Appearance and Flavour
Mortadella Bologna PGI is characterised by a cylindrical oval shape. Its pink colour and slightly spicy yet intense fragrance makes it unique among charcuterie products. When sliced, the surface of Mortadella PGI is smooth, and it is important that the slice contains white-pearled checkers of fat; the taste is delicate without any trace of smoking.
The origins of Mortadella Bologna PGI most likely date back to the Etruscan period, a hypothesis sustained by the presence of other types of mortadella, albeit with different characteristics, in the territory that was once inhabited by the Etruscans. The designation could derive from the Latin terms murtatum, referring to meat minced with a mortar, or myrtatum, meat stuffed in a casing and seasoned with myrtle berries. A stele from the Roman Empire portraying a man leading seven pigs to pasture and a mortar with a pestle, on display in the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, would seem to sustain the theory of the name’s Latin origins. Bologna was guarantor for the quality of this product and, in 1661, Cardinal Farnese issued a notice that regulated the production of mortadella, representing one of the first examples of a product specification similar to today’s PDO and PGI marks. The fabrication and application of the seals of guarantee were the responsibility of the Corporazione dei Salaroli, one of the oldest in Bologna, which was already using a mortar and pestle for its stem in 1376.
In order to maintain its qualitative characteristics, Mortadella Bologna PGI should be kept in a cool place, with the right level of humidity. Once cut, it is advisable to cover it with cling film, ensuring that the product maintains its quality characteristics. Once sliced, it should be consumed within a few days. It can be cut in thin slices or small cubes and can be enjoyed with fresh warm bread, as a snack, a condiment for pasta or as an ingredient in quiches or salads.
The product is marketed as Mortadella Bologna PGI. It is sold whole, in pieces or slices, unpackaged, vacuum-packed or in modified atmosphere packaging.
The full and balanced flavour of Mortadella Bologna PGI is the result of the use of prime pork cuts, including the fatty parts: in fact, only gullet fat is selected, the most prestigious adipose tissue, which gives the product a sweeter flavour.