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Mortadella di Bologna

Mortadella di Bologna is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) salami. Loved the world over, mentioned in films, literature as well as in several writings of all periods, mortadella is the most representative gastronomic product of Bologna: you have only to say that mortadella and Bologna have become synonyms in some parts of Italy.

La Mortadella di Bologna

It has ancient origins: the Archaeological Museum of Bologna keeps two stones dating back to the Roman period: one shows pig-rearing, introduced to the Bolognese area by the Celts in the XV century, while the other shows a butcher using a mortar (from which the salami takes its name) to crush together the meat and spices used to prepare the salami.

The earliest written documents refering to mortadella date back to the Middle Ages and attribute the invention to Bolognese monks. Mortadella was created to be a luxury product, but it ended up becoming a product of wide consumption in the 19th century, when a series of technological innovations were introduced into the production process.

Typically, Mortadella has a cylindrical shape as well as unmistakable pink-coloured slices containing the so-called "Lardelli", small white cubes of lard obtained from the pig’s throat fat, the most valuable. It smells slightly spicy with a full and balanced taste, thanks to the sweetening action of lardelli.

Mortadella di Bologna is produced using carefully selected pork according to the European rules regulating PGI products.

Meats are processed using techniques that are unique throughout the world: three specific mincing machines mince meats, the last of which has a very “explicatory” name: "sterminio" (exterminator)! Then "lardelli" are added to the resulting mixture, which is put into skins in the quantities required (from 500 g to 100 kg). Finally, cooking is the most delicate phase, when the mortadella takes on its characteristic aroma. The process requires dry-air heaters, with cooking times from a few hours to whole days according to the size. The higher the quality of the meat (and in particular of the fat), the higher the temperature that the mortadella can stand, with the advantage of it becoming more digestible.

There are several ways of eating mortadella: the most usual one is to eat it cut into thin slices with a fresh and crispy loaf of bread, but it can also be eaten in the shape of small cubes, mousse or, as tradition dictates, as stuffing for tortellini.

Mortadella production has gradually expanded as far as Lombardy, but eating it at its birthplace has a whole different flavour.

Mortadella Please is a festival completely dedicated to this savoury salami which takes place in Zola Predosa every year. Even though this delicacy is Bologna's most representative gastronomic product (everybody knows it as "La Bologna"), it has its world production premises here: Alcisa and Felsineo are the world's leading manufacturers of mortadella.

This event intends to take visitors on a journey into the world of mortadella as well as other local oenogastronomic products par excellence of The Wine and Flavours Route "Cities, Castles and Cherries". An interesting food and wine pairing experience combines with a visit to local artistic and natural sights, from the historic country residences of Bolognese aristocratic families to the farms where you can buy products directly.

Flavour Events

Mortadella Please
Zola Predosa (BO)

For more Information

Redazione di Bologna

Last modified Jan 10, 2017

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