Salama da Sugo
Salama da sugo is produced in the territory of the province of Ferrara, with the exception of the municipalities of Goro, Codigoro, Lagosanto and Comacchio. Salama da sugo is a product made from a blend of seasoned pork meats, encased in a natural pig’s bladder. It is sold as an uncooked edible product after being dried and matured or as a cooked edible product following subsequent heat treatment.
|Pork shoulder||200 g||0.44 lb|
|Pork butt (neck part)||250 g||0.55 lb|
|Pork belly||250 g||0.55 lb|
|Pork back fat||250 g||0.55 lb|
|Pork tongue||25 g||1.0 oz|
|Pork liver||25 g||1.0 oz|
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
|Sea salt||28 g||5 tsp|
|Cure #2||2.5 g||1/2 tsp|
|Black pepper, ground||1.0 g||1/2 tsp|
|Black peppercorns||2.0 g||1 tsp|
|Cinnamon||1.0 g||1/2 tsp|
|Nutmeg||1.0 g||1/2 tsp|
|Cloves, ground||0.3 g||1/8 tsp|
|Red wine (Merlot, Lambrusco)||5 ml||1 tsp|
|T-SPX culture||0.12 g||use scale|
- Chop the tongue into 1/4” (6 mm) cubes and marinade in red wine for at least 2 hours.
- Cut the liver into 1/8” (3-4 mm) slices.
- Dice back fat into 1/4” (6 mm) cubes.
- Grind other meats through 5/16” (8 mm) plate.
- 30 minutes before mixing dissolve starter culture in 1 tablespoon de-chlorinated water.
- Mix everything well together.
- Stuff firmly into pork bladder.
- Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90-85% humidity.
- Dry at 9-13° C (48-56° F) for 6 months.
- Store at 10-12 C (50-55 F), 75% humidity.
9. Dry at 9-13° C (48-56° F) for 4 months.
10. Scald the bladder in hot water at 35-45° C (95-113° F) to remove the mold.
11. Cook in water at 85° C (185° F) for 2 hours.
Salama da sugo PGI was awarded PGI certificate of origin on November 4, 2014.
Salama da sugo PGI typically weighs between 700 and 1, 400 g following the maturing process. It is round (‘melon shaped’) and tied with string to form six or eight segments, with a constricting horizontal band around the middle. The outer surface is uneven and may feature traces of mold, formed naturally during the maturing process. Inside, the product is rosy pink owing to the maturing of lean and fatty minced meats combined with a high percentage of wine, and has a firm and compact consistency. It has a lingering fragrant and spiced aroma. The cooked product is dark brown in color, intensely fragrant and highly aromatic. It has a full-bodied, savory taste that lingers on the palate even after eating, and is soft and crumbly in texture. The product is sold whole.
The expertise specific to the area is reflected in particular in the steps in the production process, some of which are extremely characteristic because they are still performed to a large extent by hand (trimming of the meat, filling, tying) or with an expert eye (assessing when the product has matured sufficiently). The ingredients used lend the product some of its distinctive qualities, such as the color (derived from the use of liver mixed with wine or liqueurs), the formation of the juice (resulting from the use of cuts of pork, such as neck, nape, belly and shoulder, that are rich in fats which dissolve easily, and the addition of wine or liqueurs).
With regard to the organoleptic characteristics, the gelatinous nature of the cuts of meat used makes ‘Salamo da sugo’ soft and crumbly on the palate. Its scent and flavor, characterized by a vast range of aromatic elements, are derived from the distinctive use of wine and spices combined with the transformation of, in particular, the fat in the product, as well as the fact that the maturation process is carried out under specific environmental conditions. The juice which oozes from the bladder casing during cooking is a result of the fact that a certain amount of the wine and liqueurs used does not evaporate and becomes infused with the spices.
Meat: neck 25% (± 15%), nape (back of neck) 25% (± 15%), belly 25% (± 15%), shoulder 20% (± 15%), tongue 3% (± 2%), liver 2% (± 1%).
Ingredients: coarse sea salt: 26 g (± 4 g), cracked or ground black pepper: 2,5 g (± 0,5 g). The optional are: cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, either added together or separately in a ratio of 0.75 g per kg of meat (± 0,5 g), and either brandy, grappa or rum used as a partial substitute for the red wine in quantities up to 1 ml per kg of meat. Furthermore, for each kilogram of meat used, 15 ml (1 Tbsp) of red wine (± 5 ml) is added. The following wine varieties may be used: Fortana, Merlot del Bosco Eliceo, Sangiovese di Romagna, Lambrusco, Refosco.
Production steps: trimming, mincing, mixing, filling, tying, drying and maturing. In the case of cooked ‘Salama da sugo’ the post-maturation heat treatment must also be carried out in the defined area.
The geographical area of production
The area in which Salama da sugo PGI is processed, prepared and packaged comprises the territory of the province of Ferrara, with the exception of the municipalities of Goro, Codigoro, Lagosanto and Comacchio. An abundance of water has had an impact on and continues to influence relative humidity in the local area. Both minimum and maximum relative humidity levels are very high, in absolute terms as well as in comparison to values in neighboring provinces, as historical data for Emilia-Romagna demonstrate. These environmental conditions led to the setting-up and widespread distribution of pork processing plants, which, for hygiene reasons, require access to large volumes of water, whilst the damp climate has always favored the optimum maturation of the processed product. The skill of the producers, assimilating years of cumulative tradition, is particularly evident at certain key stages of the production process – trimming the meat, choosing the most appropriate cuts, carefully mincing the meat, filling by hand, and then hand-tying the product in the distinctive way.
The climate in the area, with the exception of the coastal areas where the air is salty, has a positive impact on the maturing process of ‘Salama da sugo’ and consequently on the organoleptic qualities of the product since it ensures, throughout the entire long maturing process, that the product dries gently and gradually, both at surface level and at the core of the product, leaving it uniformly soft and compact. The climatic conditions are, moreover, responsible for the specific bacterial flora which develop on the product’s surface and which contribute to the development of its aroma.
Salama da sugo PGI is a unique product and cannot be compared with other processed meat products as it differs from them in terms of: composition - it requires the use of various cuts of pork, wine or liqueurs, and spices; appearance - color of the mixture and in particular the ‘melon’ shape, divided into six or eight segments, which is also depicted on the ‘Salama da sugo’ identifying logo; organoleptic qualities - soft and crumbly, with a vast array of aromatic elements and juice which oozes from the bladder casing).
The product dates back to the Renaissance era, when the Dukes of Este, who governed the territory of Ferrara at that time, placed great emphasis on the pleasures of the table. The distinctive melon shape, divided into six or eight segments with a central constricting band, also dates back to that time and is depicted on Ferrarese court pottery from the same period. The first edition of Touring Club Italiano’s Guida Gastronomica d’Italia (1931) contains references to the product’s reputation: ‘Salama da sugo’ is an extremely well-known specialty unique to Ferrara which is made both in the city itself as well as in many parts of the province’. It is also mentioned in the 1967 edition of the Annuario dell’Accademia italiana della cucina in which Ferrara is described as the ‘famous city of “Salama da sugo”’. Today, all Italian gastronomic guides contain references to ‘Salama da sugo’, sealing a reputation that is now very well established. Furthermore, in the area of production there are many fairs and traditional events dedicated to ‘Salama da sugo’, confirming its link to the area. These include the fairs held in Guarda Ferrarese and Buonacompra (at the end of July). The latter has taken place since 1974 and celebrates the connection between the consumption of ‘Salama da sugo’ and the harvesting of hemp, which for centuries was a very typical local product.