Salsiccia di Calabria PDO is a medium-grained, stuffed and cured charcuterie product, obtained through the processing of fresh meat from pigs belonging to the Calabrese, Large White or Landrace Italiana breeds.
The production area of Salsiccia di Calabria PDO is within the entire territory of the Calabria region. The pigs used for production should be born within the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Sicily, Apulia and Campania, and reared in the region of Calabria, starting from the maximum age of four months; they must be slaughtered and processed in Calabria.
Cuts from the shoulder (minimum 50%) and under-rib, with the addition of lard (20% for every kilogram of processed meat) are selected. They are minced together and kneaded, adding natural aromatic ingredients such as salt, black pepper corns and powder, wine and fennel seeds. Hot chili powder or cream of sweet chili pepper is also added for the Spicy sausage, and sweet chili powder or cream of sweet chili pepper is added for the Sweet sausage. The paste is inserted into natural pig casings which are then pierced. Curing must take place naturally in a suitable environment, for a minimum of 30 days.
Appearance and Flavour
Salsiccia di Calabria PDO is cylindrical in shape, twisted into a characteristic chain shape or tied in the shape of a “U”. The slice displays a medium-grain with an even distribution of fat. The colour is natural red or bright red, depending on whether black pepper or sweet or spicy chilli pepper was used in the paste. The aroma is natural; the flavour is balanced or stronger and spicier.
The origins of Salsiccia di Calabria PDO can be found in the history of charcuterie production in Calabria, most likely dating back to the period of Magna Graecia. The first documentation on the processing of pig meat can be found in a text from 1691, Della Calabria Illustrata, in which Padre Giovanni Fiore da Cropani cited that among the salted meats were those transformed “into Lards, Sausages, Brawn and similar”. Later on, (1806- 1815), the Statistica Murattiana registered sausage production, documenting the “preference for salted pork, which is produced in both Calabria regions. Salt and pepper are generally what people choose to spoil this sought-after delicacy”. In the third section, dedicated to the “subsistence and conservation of populations”, pork is indicted as being “the only meat that is salted in every district”. Over time, Calabria has remained one of the few regions where the pork culture is still deeply rooted.
Traditionally Salsiccia di Calabria PDO keeps well hung from the ceiling in a cool dry place, where it can be kept for approximately 12 months. It is also possible to conserve these sausages in oil or fat in sealed glass containers, vacuum-packed and in the fridge. It can be eaten on its own or as a snack or light meal; it is used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes from the gastronomic tradition of southern Italy. It can be used to complete a cold meat and cheese board, served with naturally levitated bread. It pairs well with highly alcoholic local red wines, which enhance this product’s characteristic and strong flavour.
The product is marketed as Salsiccia di Calabria PDO, with the addition of the following wording: Piccante (Spicy), if chili powder or cream of sweet chili pepper has been used; Dolce (sweet), if sweet chili powder or cream of sweet chili pepper has been used; Bianca (white). It is sold unpackaged, vacuum-packed or in modified atmosphere packaging, whole, in pieces or sliced.
The production area of Salsiccia di Calabria PDO is characterised by the particular climate of Southern Italy; even during the summer, dry warm winds such as the Sirocco allow the meats to cure gradually, without activating abnormal fermentation processes.