Soprèssa Vicentina

Soprèssa Vicentina is Italian sausage which is produced in the province of Vicenza. The taste is delicate, slightly sweet and peppery or garlicky, with very little acidity.

MeatsMetricUS
Lean pork: shoulder, loin, leg700 g1.54 lb
Back fat, pork belly300 g0.66 lb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt28 g5 tsp
Cure #22.5 g1/2 tsp
Pepper3.0 g1-1/2 tsp
Dextrose1.0 g1/5 tsp
Sugar1.0 g1/5 tsp
Cinnamon0.5 g1/4 tsp
Cloves0.3 g1/8 tsp
Rosemary, ground0.3 g1/8 tsp
Garlic3.0 g1 clove
Starter culture, T-SPX0.12 guse scale
Instructions
  1. Grind lean meat through 5/16” (8 mm) plate.
  2. Cut fat into 1/4” (6 mm) cubes.
  3. 30 minutes before mixing dissolve starter culture in 1 tablespoon de-chlorinated water.
  4. Mix lean meat with all ingredients. Add fat cubes and mix again.
  5. Stuff into large 80 mm hog casings - pork middles or bungs.
  6. Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90 → 85% humidity.
  7. Dry at 15-12º C (59-54º F), 85→75% decreasing humidity for 80 days. The sausage is dried until around 30-35% in weight is lost.
  8. Store sausages at 10-15º C (50-59º F), <75% humidity.
Notes
Soprèssa Vicentina PDO was awarded PDO certificate of origin on March 19, 2003.

History

The traditional historical and cultural evidence for the origin of Soprèssa Vicentina includes:
- precise historic references attesting to the product's origin and links with the region together with references in recipes and in the gastronomic and culinary traditions of the Vicenza area,
- the close cultural links of this typical high-quality product with the region in the form of traditional events and public fairs focusing on Soprèssa Vicentina that have been held since the 1950s. Nowadays the event with the widest impact in the province and the region takes place in the municipality of Valli del Pasubio during the second week of August,
- the presence of processors with small-scale slaughtering and processing facilities who use pigs from local farms and who, over the years, have continued to employ traditional methods for producing Soprèssa Vicentina which are typical of Vicenza farming customs,
- traceability: the fact that the (PDO) product comes from (originates in) the specified geographical production area is certified by the inspection body on the basis of the many formalities the producers must carry out throughout the production cycle.

The geographical area and the production of the sausage

The climate and characteristics of the air in this geographical area, enclosed by the Piccole Dolomiti (lesser Dolomites), the Colli Berici (Berici hills) and the Altopiano di Asiago (Asiago plateau), play a part both during the rearing of the pigs and while the product is being matured, giving Soprèssa Vicentina its distinctive and exclusive flavor, fragrance and aroma.
The link between the product and the local population is demonstrated by the fact that the area of production, the Vicentino, has traditionally been the home of numerous farmers and/or craftsmen who, by using characteristic methods for rearing pigs and processing and curing the meat obtained therefrom, gave rise to the "Soprèssa Vicentina", a truly unique product whose method of preparation has changed very little over time. Evidence of the link with the environment is to be found in the specific characteristics of the raw material, which in turn are based on the products, traditional and consisting almost entirely of high-quality cereals grown locally, used for fattening the pigs.
A link between the raw material and the area lies in the fact that whey from the cheese industry is used, more often than not roughly mixed with meal, as feed. This is part of a long-standing tradition, the province of Vicenza being a producer of two major PDO cheeses (Asiago and Grana Padano). The whey is a by-product of the manufacture of these two PDO cheeses. It is strongly characterized by the milk and the process of separation of the substances used in cheesemaking.
Pig farms in the Vicentino use the whey because of the characteristics it imparts to the pig meat and hence to the processed pig meat. Owing to its high water content, the whey has an extremely low concentration of nutritional substances and, as a result, tends to be used as feed on a strictly local basis, thus contributing to the traditional diet of the pigs used for the production of "Soprèssa Vicentina". Evidence of the link with the environment is also to be found in the presence in the province of Vicenza of processors with small-scale slaughtering and processing facilities who use pigs from local farms and who have continued over the years to employ traditional methods for producing "Soprèssa Vicentina" which are typical of Vicenza farming customs.
The maturing process is characterized by the humidity in the air following changes in temperature which trigger the first and second stage fermentation undergone by the sausage meat in its casings. This link with the natural surroundings determines the originality of a product whose special characteristics distinguish now, as they have done in the past, the Soprèssa produced in the Vicenza area from similar sausage meat produced in other areas, this being confirmed by the historical literature on the subject.

Production

Meat used for making Soprèssa Vicentina must come from animals born and raised on farms located in the province of Vicenza. They must be nine months old or more upon slaughter. This may be verified on the basis of the data shown on the mark tattooed on their leg in the first 30 days following birth. They should weigh 130 kg at the time of slaughter. Free range or semi-free-range pigs may be used.

Meat: "Soprèssa Vicentina" is made with the most valuable parts of the selected half-carcass, including the hams, neck, shoulder, belly, and loin, back fat.
Ingredients: salt: 2.7 g/1 kg of meat, pepper: 3 g/1 kg of meat, garlic 1 g/1 kg of meat, sugar 1.5 g/1 kg of meat, mixture of finely ground spices (cinnamon, cloves and rosemary) 0.5 g/1 kg of meat, potassium nitrate within permitted limits.
Processing: the pig half-carcasses are cut and the pieces chilled at a temperature of between 0 °C and + 3 °C (32 – 37° F) for 24 hours or more. They are then boned and trimmed. The selected pieces are minced in a meat grinder through 6 - 7 mm plate. Starter culture may be added to enhance fermentation. All the ingredients are then carefully mixed and stuffed into natural animal casings with a diameter of 8 cm (3”) or more. The stuffed product can weigh from 1 to 8 kg. Then the sausages are submitted to usual processing steps:
Fermenting/Drying (a) conditioning/draining for 12 hours at temperatures between 20° C and 24° C (68 – 75° F);
(b) fermenting/drying for four to five days at decreasing temperatures starting at 22 - 24° C (68 – 75° F) and ending at 12 to 14° C (53 – 55° F).
Maturing The maturing period for "Soprèssa Vicentina", including fermenting/drying, depends on the size, wit the diameter of the sausage being the most important factor:
60 days or more for sizes between 1 and 1.5 kg,
80 days or more for sizes between 1.5 and 2.5 kg,
90 days or more for sizes between 2.5 and 3.5 kg,
120 days or more for sizes between 3.5 kg and 8 kg.

External appearance: cylindrical in shape, bound with twine, which may be elasticated, fastened vertically and with a series of rings made of the same material, placed horizontally on top of the fastening along the entire length of the Soprèssa. Netting may not be used for binding. Where the product contains garlic, colored twine may be used to cover the end section (eyelet) only. The rings, of which there must be at least three, are placed at intervals of 2 to 4 cm. The outer surface has white mold which develops naturally during the maturing process.

Organoleptic characteristics: aroma - spicy, possibly with fragrance of aromatic herbs with or without garlic; flavor - delicate, slightly sweet and peppery or garlicky; color - pink to reddish; texture - average-sized grain, requiring little chewing, acidity level - pH between 5.4 and 6.2 (very little acidity)

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