Mortadella di fegato

Mortadella di fegato: history and characteristics

The mortadella di fegato is a kind of salami typical of the Val d’Ossola and the Pavia, Mantova, and Como district. The history of this salami vaunts a very traditional production method.

The mortadella di fegato (also known as Fidighina) is a product typical of Val d’Ossola and the province of Pavia, Mantova, and Como. The salami is prepared with mixed swine meats. People can enjoy it both raw and boiled, and they can choose between different receipts. The Mortadella della Val d’Ossola is a product under the Slow Food Presidium

But what are the production methods for this salami? And what is its history?

The history of the Fidighina 

We have known of the existence of Fidighina in the Italian territory since the Seventeenth Century, as some historical documents testify. At the same time, some testimonies related to the Mortadella Stagionata have appeared also in the Ticino area as well, as an legal practice on some tools pertaining to the Salsamenteria, among which they found a “mortadella buona e ben stagionata” (that was good and finely aged). 

People did not only try  Mortadella della Val d’Ossola when finely aged, but also when fresh. On a eighteenth-century advertisement, moreover, Salumieri  the producers of Salami – started to boil the Fideghina. Not only Salumieri prepared the Fideghina, but also families whenever the time to kill porks came. 

The name does not have to be misleading. Mortadella is indeed a term which describes a product that is different from salami. However, this Mortadella is exactly a salami. This depends on the fact that the term Mortadella derives from the noun “mortar;”this term indicates that salumieri used this tool to chop and crush the meat. 

Salumieri producing Fidighina did not follow this procedure, but these products maintained the name of “Mortadella” rather than “Salami”. The territory of Val d’Ossola, which is an area in-between Piedmont, Lombardy and Switzerland, possessed and still possesses an ancient tradition of pork-butchery. Butchers breeded pigs in a natural state, and they gaze them around the alpine pasture, with a nose ring. 

How do butchers produce it?

Butchers in the Ossola area produce the Mortadella Ossolana or Di Fegato in minimum quantities. The receipt is a mix of raw swines, to which butchers add a maximum of 5% of liver and, in few occasion, some tiepid wine flavored with spices. Butcher put this mixture into the a cleaned part of the pig intestine and make the sausage age for about two months.  

The final product has a strong taste: you would love to eat it sliced together with Coimo’s Black Bread.  

When the Mortadella di Fegato is fresh, you can either boil it and serve it with potatoes, or baked with Polenta. 

If you decide to visit the production area and get a taste of Mortadella di Fegato, you can eat it together with Prunent, a local wine that is homonymous with the local vineyards that produce it. 

Photo by sabino1979 on Flickr