Taste Italy

Mortadella Bologna IGP

Mortadella Bologna IGP is an Italian cold cut made from porc, with origins in the province of Bologna in the region of Emilia-Romagna.

Mortadella Bologna IGP is unique as it is cooked and not cured, like many other cold cuts are prepared. It is is pink, with some white fat spots and has a delicate flavour, it is often made with pistachios in order to enhance the taste.

Mortadella is often eaten on its own and is a favourite among Italians to be added into sandwiches, in southern Italy is it also a common pizza topping. Mortadella Bologna IGP is best enjoyed with local Emilia Romagna wines, such as a Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC..

The History

The origins of Mortadella Bologna IGP probably date back to the Etruscan era, hypothesized by the presence of other types of mortadella, albeit with different characteristics, in the territories once inhabited by the Etruscans.

The name could derive from the Latin words murtatum, or minced meat in a mortar, or myrtatum, sausage made with meat dressed with myrtle berries. In support of the Latin origin of the name, there is proof of a stele from the Imperial Roman era preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, in which seven pigs are portrayed on one side and a mortar with pestle on the other. Evidence of the link with the city of Bologna can be found as early as the fifteenth century, when the Visconti of Milan gladly offered the city a fatty ox every year in exchange for fragrant mortadellas. Bologna, on the other hand, guaranteed this product’s quality, and, in 1661, Cardinal Farnese issued a proclamation that codified the production of mortadella, providing one of the first examples of regulations similar to the current ones of the DOP and IGP brands. The manufacture and application of the required garantie seals were the responsibility of the Corporazione dei Salaroli, one of the oldest in Bologna, which already in 1376 had a mortar with a pestle as its coat of arms.

3 interesting facts about Mortadella Bologna IGP:

  • Mortadella was for the rich. During the Renaissance period this precious cold cut was worth 3 times more that prosciutto. In fact, it was so beloved, that, in the 17th century, the famous Dominican friar, agronomist and mathematician Padre Labat underwent an incredibly long journey from Martinica to Bologna just to try the exquisite mortadella!
  • Mortadella is not as fat as you might think. This cold cut is created using only the finest quality meat together with processing at controlled temperatures. Nowadays, 100g of Mortadella di Bologna provides the same calories as a spreadable cheese (approx. 288 kcal).
  • Mortadella was protected under warranty already in the 17th century! Back then, competent authorities had soon discovered the deliciousness of mortadella and determined that it could be produced exclusively within the walled city of Bologna, from authorized pork butchers, and marked with a wax seal. The most prominent notice dates back to 1661 and was issued by Cardinal Girolamo Farnese in Bologna to block attempts to modify this product, defined as “isquisita perfettione”