RARE BREED MORTADELLA DI BOLOGNA

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For 60 years the most famous name in the production of Mortadella has been Pasquini & Brusiani in Bologna. Years ago we tried to buy from them but they don’t export and all the producers we’ve visited since have been disappointingly industrial. Until the start of the year when we met Aldo Zivieri whose family have a butchers shop in Monzuno, 45 minutes up into the Apennines from Bologna.

The Zivieri family also has 40 hectares of woodland around Monzuno where they raise rare breed Mora Romagnola pigs. They have their own small abattoir and slaughter 10-12 rare breed pigs each week. They sell the fresh meat in their butchers as well as making salumi and, in 2015, they worked with Paquini & Brusiani, to become the first producers of a rare breed mortadella.

Their delicious mortadella is made with meat from the shoulder and the off cuts from making prosciutto. To these two are added pork tripe – an ingredient that was for centuries an integral ingredient in mortadella but that is rarely used any more

The meat is very finely minced before pieces of fat from the cheek, salt, pepper and spice mix are added. Aldo uses a mix of cinnamon, mace, star anice, coriander, bay and cumin. Now a paste, it is stuffed in to a natural casing and hand tied

Cooking times and temperatures have an important effect on the final flavour and texture. They depend a lot on the size of the mortadella. Ours spend over 24 hours in a low oven until they reach an internal temperature of 70C.

In 2014 Aldo opened RoManzo in Bologna’s covered market. It’s a tiny salumeria which sells all their charcuterie as well as a simple tavola calda; panini filled with tripe, polenta with mortadella, grilled steaks and involtini with prosciutto cotto. If you go to Bologna join the queue of locals having lunch there. It’s worth it.