Lombo Branco de Portalegre (Portalegre white loin sausage)
IGP Lombo Branco de Portalegre is a Portuguese air-cured sausage made of fresh loin of pork of the Alentejo breed, free of superficial fat, containing added salt and possibly dried ungerminated garlic and white wine of the Portalegre region. The casings used may be "peles das banhas" (serous (pleural or peritoneal) membranes), large intestine or blind gut of swine. Straight and cylindrical in shape, the sausage is encased in a cotton net, narrowing at the ends with double ties or a double twist, and is between 15 and 50 cm in length. Of pinkish, shiny appearance, semi-rigid consistency, casing without breaks adhering closely to meat. Diameter: 4 to 8 cm. When sliced, it is presented as a single piece, of pink/whitish colour, permeated with interstitial fat with a thin layer of fat between the meat and the casing. The flavour is pleasant, mild or subtle, low in salt, with at times a slightly piquant aftertaste. Pleasant, distinctive odour. Texture relatively non-fibrous and fairly smooth. Fat shiny, whitish-pink colour, fragrant smell and pleasant taste. Texture varies with the rations and the percentage of acorns fed to Alentejo pigs.
Geographical area: Given the organoleptic characteristics of the product, the soil and climatic conditions required for drying and 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: Lombo Branco de Portalegre can only be produced on authorized premises located in the abovementioned geographical area of manufacture given the climatic conditions and know-how required. 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 loin is cut from carcases of Alentejo pigs reared under the special conditions described above before undergoing a traditional cutting process ("aparagem", which involves separating the loin), seasoning, filling and maturing, which gives the sausages the presentation, colour, flavour and aroma characteristic of Lombo Branco de Portalegre. Processing takes place in a natural environment in accordance with local, fair and consistent practice, including in particular maturing in the open air.
Link: The region of Portalegre enjoys a particular micro-climate, creating special conditions for the production of sausage products (cold, dry winters). Given the readily available supply of Alentejo pigmeat, 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 and by the air-curing method. Lombo Branco de Portalegre has distinctive characteristics of presentation, taste and aroma which link it unmistakably to the region of Portalegre and enjoys a deserved reputation among traditional consumers.
Reference: The European Commission