Salame d'oca di Mortara

The Salame d'oca di Mortara (Mortara goose sausage) is produced in the area of the Lomellina, a specific area in the Pavia Province of Lombardy Region. As far back as the 15th century it was linked to the Jewish communities in the area. From the beginning of the last century what was a local specialty became known to a bigger public and has continued to enjoy ever widening fame. The mild delicate taste is typical of goose and the fragrance is marked by the presence of spices.

MeatsMetricUS
Lean goose meat350 g0.77 lb
Pork butt, lean cuts300 g0.66 lb
Pork belly, jowls350 g0.77 lb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Sea salt16 g2.5 tsp
Cure #12.0 g1/3 tsp
Sugar1.0 g1/4 tsp
White pepper1.0g1/2 tsp
Allspice0.5 g1/2 tsp
Garlic1.0 g1/3 clove
Red wine5 ml1 tsp
Instructions
  1. Grind meat and fat through 8 – 10 mm (3/8”) grinder plate.
  2. Mix ground mixture with aal ingredients.
  3. Stuff into 60 mm fibrous protein lined casings (original PDO version of the sausage requires casing to be made of goose skin, trimmed and stitched with cotton thread).
  4. Hold at 14 – 18° C (56 - 64° F) for 1-3 days.
  5. Cook in water at 80° C (176° F) until the sausage reaches 72 – 75° C (161 – 167° F) internal temperature.
  6. Immerse for 10 minutes in cold water, finish cooling in the air. Refrigerate.
Notes
Salame d’oca di Mortara PGI was awarded PGI certificate of origin on June 25, 2004.

The packaging in which the product is put up for sale must carry in clear, indelible printed characters, easily distinguishable from all other writing on the label, the words Salame d'oca di Mortara and Indicazione Geografica Protetta and Salame d'oca di Mortara PGI logowhich is a blue oval seal within which are shown the shape of the Lomellina in green, a white goose and the Abbey of Sant'Albino and two stalks of rice in yellow.

The geographical area of production

Salame d'oca di Mortara is made using the flesh of geese born, raised and slaughtered within the Regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. During the finishing period (last three months) they are fed exclusively on green fodder and cereals. The slaughtered animal must weigh not less than 4 kg. The pig flesh comes from animals born, raised and slaughtered within the Regions of Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto and Umbria and is obtained in line with the specifications for Prosciutto di Parma PDO or Prosciutto San Daniele PDO.

History

The goose has been known since Roman times in this area, which with its plentiful springs of fresh water and abundance of vegetation provides an ideal habitat. By the 13th century Mortara was already famous, as contemporary documents show, for its geese and sausage. A notable impulse to goose-raising in the Lomellina came from an edict of Ludovico Sforza authorizing settlement of groups of Jews, for whom goose sausage was a standard food given the Judaic prohibition on eating pork.
Of the various theories of the origin of salame d'oca di Mortara the most widespread is that goose by itself did not suffice to satisfy the taste of the majority of the non-Jewish consumers in the area and that probably some master sausage makers of Mortara hit on the idea of combining it with the flesh of the pig. Such an explanation is also to be found in the authority Pellegrini Artusi, who in the first edition (1891) of his culinary treatise "Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well" testifies to preparation of a sausage like this in the Lomellina.

The rural tradition considered geese as poultry to be assigned to the care of women. It was not uncommon to see them being taken to graze and drink by young girls with a staff in their hand. Rearing began in spring and finished in late autumn, when the geese were slaughtered after forced fattening on maize. The animals went in part for sausage production and in part to the rearing families' winter food stores. Numerous historical documents speak of the necessary practice of raising geese in this particular area and also of the serious damage they caused when grazing.
It is interesting to note that around 1800 specific measures were adopted on geese such as a prohibition on grazing of them and institution of the figure of public goose watchman. And so, the bird was raised and protected, for fattening and plucking to feed the poorer classes and keep them warm but also as a field scavenger, since being an herbivore it destroyed the weeds when grazing. During the years of strong economic growth in Italy goose-raising declined rapidly but the traditional rearing revived at the end of the 60s after a number of Mortara charcuterie producers in 1967 launched the Mortara Goose Sausage Festival, specifically named after and intended to promote the traditional product. Held on the last Sunday of September, it is now the town's biggest event and has helped the product achieve its fame. In the meantime, its merits and originality have resulted in an increasing volume of imitation and hence a need to safeguard one of the sausages richest in tradition. Given the attention and care that production requires the production tends to be non-industrial. The smallness of the producing enterprises may be a restricting factor but is a guarantee of quality.

Production

Meat: lean parts of the goose (30/35 %), the lean parts of the pig (back of neck and/or shoulder and/or other lean parts; 30/35 %) and the fatty parts of the pig (belly and/or cheek; 30/35 %).
Ingredients:sea salt, nitrates and/or nitrites, pepper and various natural flavorings.
Processing: goose meat and pork fat are ground with 8 - 10 mm (3/8”) grinder plate. The goose skin, salted, trimmed and stitched with cotton thread, is used as casing for the sausage, which takes the form of the goose's neck or, if the back and belly skin is used, a cylinder. The stuffed sausages are tied up and kept in well ventilated chambers at a temperature ranging between 14 - 18° C (58 – 64° F) for a minimum period for one to three days depending on size. After drying they are cooked in water at an average temperature of 80° C (176° F) and then cooled. The sausage weighs from 0.3 kg (0.66 lb) to 4 kg (8.8 lb and is marketed whole or sliced, in airtight or vacuum packs.

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