Linguiça de Portalegre (Portalegre smoked, cured sausage)
IGP Linguiça de Portalegre is a Portuguese smoked sausage comprising meat (leg, shoulder blade, loin, belly, intercostal muscles and trimmings with some fat) and hard fat, free of rind, of Alentejo pork, with added salt, non-germinated dry ground garlic, sweet pepper, red pepper paste and sometimes white wine of the Portalegre region. The casings used are dry, natural small intestine of cattle, goats, sheep or pigs. The sausage is horseshoe-shaped, individually made, tied and/or twisted at the ends, and measures up to 50 cm in length. It is is red and shiny in appearance, of semi-rigid consistency, in a casing without breaks adhering closely to the meat. Diameter not exceeding 28 mm. A diagonal slice shows a perfectly bonded mass of marbled appearance, with a regular mix of meat and fat, red and white in colour. Pleasant distinctive flavour, slightly smoked. Fat: shiny, whitish-pink colour, aromatic and of pleasing taste. The consistency varies with the rations and the percentage of acorns in the feed of Alentejo pigs.
Geographical area: Given the organoleptic characteristics of the product, the soil and climatic conditions required for manufacture and the local, fair and consistent practice, the geographical area of manufacture is naturally confined to the municipalities of Alter do Chão, Arronches, Avis, Campo Maior, Castelo de Vide, Crato, Elvas, Fronteira, Gavião, Marvão, Monforte, Nisa, Ponte de Sor, Portalegre and Sousel, in the District of Portalegre.
Proof of origin: Linguiça de Portalegre can only be produced on authorized premises located in the abovementioned geographical area of processing. The raw material comes exclusively from swine of the Alentejo breed, reared outdoors under extensive or semi-extensive conditions in an agroforestry system (grazing and acorns) in the oak forests of the Alentejo region. A system of controls exists to monitor the whole production process. As proof of the renown enjoyed by the sausage products produced in the geographical area referred to by the name Portalegre, suffice it to quote the fact that back in 1750 a parish document referred to the products.
Method of production: The fresh meat and fat comes from carcases of Alentejo pigs reared under the conditions described above and undergoes a traditional cutting process ("miga"), seasoning, filling and maturing, which gives the sausages the presentation, colour, flavour and aroma characteristic of Linguiça de Portalegre. The manufacturing process takes place in a natural environment, in accordance with local, fair and consistent practice.
Link: The region of Portalegre is characterised by its particular micro-climate, creating special conditions for the production of sausage products (cold, dry winters). Given the readily available supply of Alentejo pork, based on the special features of the diet of these animals, the people of Portalegre have developed special ways of preserving the meat so as to enhance its particular flavour with a simple form of spicing using regional products or by smoking using wood from the region. Linguiça de Portalegre has its own characteristics of presentation, taste and aroma which link it unmistakably to the region of Portalegre.
Gastronomy: Linguíça do Baixo Alentejo PGI must be stored between 5°C and 15°C. Sometimes it is preserved in the local extra virgin olive oil. This sausage is ready to eat. The local farm workers traditionally eat it with bread when out gathering the harvest. It can be enjoyed as a starter or as the main ingredient in traditional local dishes.
Reference: The European Commission