Sunday, October 18, 2015


 "A kod komse uvek pun frizider svega, Mortadela i Nutela..."
 (And in Komsi, I always have a refrigerator full of Mortadella and Nutella..."
~ Cigo, the Croation One-man Band

i mentioned yesterday that there was a wonderful gathering in Piazza Maggiore raising money to plant fields of grain to help ease hunger in Tanzania, but that right around the corner, there was something that was completely different (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

 You 've probably guessed by the photos that I stumbled upon a festival honoring the humble, pink sausage otherwise known as mortadella.

Perhaps it is just me, but I found it hilarious that one group was trying to raise money to plant grain for starving African children, while another was handing out pounds and pounds of the precursor to Bolgona (or baloney) just around the corner.  Guess which group had more visitors.

 Mortadella originated over 500 years ago in Bologna.  Made of finely ground pork, the sausage is heat-cured. In addition, no less than 15% of the meat must be pork fat for it to be mortadella (Note those huge white chunks in the photo above.)  It can include peppercorns, pistachios, or myrtle berries (Roman mortadella contains myrtle berries.).

 As a side note, mortadella is the ancestor to American bologna (named as such because of the city where mortadella got its start).  The taste of American bologna, while similar to mortadella, is a lot more salty and stronger.  Mortadella is much more delicate in flavor, and as such, should not sit in the refrigerator too long after you cut it. It should not be too thick. Most Italians cut it paper-thin.

 I'm not a big fan, and I freely admit that I had never tried it until a few months ago. The thought of ingesting globs of fat was somehow unappetizing to me.  Someone offered me some while I was a guest of theirs, and I tried it.  It tastes, as I mentioned, similar to bologna although it has a very delicate flavor.  I cannot, however, get the idea of the fat out of my head, so I still won't eat it unless I'm being nice.  Believe me when I say it takes everything in me to swallow the white blobs.

 The other thing that I found absolutely hilarious and more than a little bizarre, was the fact that they offered wine pairings with mortadella (above). I can only imagine the wine descriptions:

"This chardonnay has a butter flavor and cream-like texture which is reminiscent of a spoonful of mayonnaise." OR... "The massive and opulent taste of this merlot pairs nicely with a sausage of the same, large proportions."  OR!! "The unctuous (oily) taste of this famous red is reminiscent of the blobs of fat in the mortadella."

If you want to hear Cigo Man sing about mortadella and Nutella in the refrigerator, click here.  He's actually very entertaining....and he likes Nutella. I won't hold the mortadella thing against him.

Domani:  I try cozze and arrancini for the first time.....

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