Chouriça doce de Vinhais
Chouriça doce de Vinhais is an IGP Portuguese smoked sausage, made from the meat of pigs of the Bisaro breed or of cross-breeds that must be 50 % Bisaro (F1 animals, produced by cross-breeding pure-bred Bisaro pigs registered in the herdbook with pigs of other breeds), regional bread and olive oil from Trás-os-Montes (these being essential for giving the product a specific taste and texture), pig's blood, honey and walnuts or almonds, stuffed into the small intestine of a cow or pig. It is horseshoe-shaped, approximately 20 to 25 cm long and approximately 2 to 3 cm in diameter. It is black but not homogeneously so, as is the filling, where lighter areas containing the strips of meat and nuts are noticeable. The intestine sticks to the mixture and so pieces of meat, walnuts or almonds are visible through it. Its final weight is approximately 150 g.
Due to the traditional production method, the sources of animal nutrition used, the local population's traditional know-how in terms of animal husbandry, and the pedological conditions needed to develop the food base used to obtain raw ingredients of an undeniably distinctive quality, the area in which the Bisaro pigs and cross-breeds used in the production of Chouriça doce de Vinhais are born, reared, fattened, slaughtered and cut up is confined to the municipalities of Alfândega da Fé, Bragança, Carrazeda de Anciães, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Miranda do Douro, Mirandela, Mogadouro, Torre de Moncorvo, Vila Flor, Vimioso and Vinhais in the Bragança district and to the municipalities of Alijó, Boticas, Chaves, Mesão Frio, Mondim de Basto, Montalegre, Murça, Régua, Ribeira de Pena, Sabrosa, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Valpaços, Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Vila Real in the Vila Real district, since only this area has the required food base and animal husbandry skills required.
Given the particular weather conditions required to produce Chouriça doce de Vinhais, the people's know-how and the constant and unchanging local methods employed, the geographical processing area is confined to the municipalities of Alfândega da Fé, Bragança, Carrazeda de Anciães, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Miranda do Douro, Mirandela, Mogadouro, Torre de Moncorvo, Vila Flor, Vimioso and Vinhais in the Bragança district.
Method of production
Lean meat and meat from the head, flank and belly are cut into medium-sized pieces, placed in a recipient to which salt and water is added, and then boiled until the meat is well-cooked. The bread is cut into thin slices with the crust left on and then softened in the meat stock. The seasoning, strips of meat, oil, blood, honey and almonds and/or walnuts are added to this mixture. Once the seasoning is right, the mixture is immediately stuffed into the pig intestine. The product is smoked slowly using oak- and/or chestnut-wood and is then left to cure or stabilise for more than 15 days. Chouriça doce de Vinhais is placed on the market as a whole sausage and is always pre-packed at the place of origin. Due to the product's characteristics and composition, it may not be cut or sliced. Special material is used for its packaging, which, when it comes into contact with the product, is innocuous and inert in a normal or controlled atmosphere or in a vacuum. Packing may be carried out only in the geographical processing area so as to ensure traceability and control and to prevent any change to the product's taste and microbiological characteristics.
Link to the geographical area
Various zoomorphic sculptures and references made to taxes on pigs and their by products in different municipal registers in the region prove that pig-breeding has been important in this area for a very long time. The relationship between the product and the geographical area stems from the (indigenous) breed of animal, the local sources of nutrition used, the know-how in terms of selection of the cuts of meat, slow smoking using regional firewood and a curing process that takes place in very cold and dry locations in the region.
Reference: The European Commission