Salpicão de Vinhais (Vinhais smoked sausage)

From Cookipedia

Salpicão de Vinhais

IGP Salpicão de Vinhais is a Portuguese sausage of pork loin and tenderloin of the Bisara breed or of crossbreeds thereof comprising at least 50% Bisara breed, in casings of large intestine of pig, straight and cylindrical in shape and smoked. The meat used is seasoned with salt, red or white wine of the region, water, garlic, paprika and/or chilli powder and bay leaf. It is 15 to 20 cm in length and light brown. The casings are stitched at one end and tied at the other with cotton string and must adhere without breaks to the filling. The ties are characteristic, comprising two knots at the end of the casing, which is then turned over and knotted again. Diameter: 5 to 8 cm. When cut, the sausage forms a coherent mass, bright red in colour on the inside. Pleasant, highly characteristic flavour with a hint of saltiness. Pleasant smell peculiar to the type. Smoked flavour and smell.

Geographical area

Given the organoleptic characteristics of the product, the soil and climatic conditions required for processing and the longstanding, local traditions which ensure the genuineness of the product, the geographical area of processing is naturally restricted to the municipalities of Alfåndega da Fé, Bragança, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Mirandela, Torre de Moncorvo, Vila Flor and Vinhais.

Proof of origin

IGP Salpicão de Vinhais can only be produced in authorized facilities located in the abovementioned geographical area of processing. The raw material comes from pigs of the Bisara breed or of crossbreeds of at least 50% Bisara breed, reared according to the traditional system and fed essentially on potatoes, pumpkins, mast (or acorns), beet, cereal grits and other products of plant origin, in particular by-products of market gardening. During the finishing phase, the swine consume substantial quantities of chestnuts, produced under the natural conditions applying in the region, which gives their meat highly distinctive organoleptic characteristics which are recognizable to the consumer. A system of controls exists to ensure the traceability of the whole production process.

Method of production

The production of IGP Salpicão de Vinhais involves the following phases: cutting (the loin and tenderloin are cut into cubes approximately 5 cm in size); seasoning (in two phases, with salt, water, wine, bay leaf, garlic and paprika); stuffing (after the meat has been left to stand), the casings of large intestine of pig, already cut to size and with one end stitched closed, are stuffed and the other tied after the meat has been closely compacted; the casings are tied with two knots, then the sausage is turned over and the final knot tied); smoking and curing (smoking takes place through the gradual effect of mild heat from a low fire burning dry oak and/or chestnut, followed by curing in cool, dark rooms until the sausages take on their characteristic flavour and aroma). Smoking and curing must last at least 40 days.

Liņķ

At the end of the 18th Century, chestnuts, potatoes and rye bread formed the staple diet in Terra Fria de Trás-os-Montes; pork provided a supplement of protein and fat to this diet. Testifying to the longstanding pigfarming tradition of the region is the existence of various sculptures in the form of animals, known as "berrões", "porcos", "verracos" and "toiricos", which are found in various places in upper Trás-os-Montes. In order to consume the meat throughout the year, ways were found to preserve pork and this ancestral craft was passed down from generation to generation.

Fumeiro, as these fine foods are called, owes much to the cold climate of this region, which calls for the constant companionship of the fireplace. The latter provided unique smoking conditions (gradual effect of thin smoke of oak and chestnut wood from the region), plus the constant moisture from the kettle always on the boil. Of greater importance is the care with which the swine are reared, using products from the region, in particular pumpkins, potatoes and chestnuts, the latter being essential for finishing. The natural conditions of the region, its products, the way the swine are fed, the centuries-old knowledge of the craft passed down through the family and the deep-rooted traditions of the people give IGP Salpicão de Vinhais its unique organoleptic characteristics.

Gastronomy

IGP Salpicão de Vinhais, after being smoked, must be kept in such a way that it does not degrade, principally by either being stored at a low temperature or by being vacuum packed. It can be enjoyed eaten either just as it is with good, crusty bread, local cheese and a glass of the local wine or it can be cooked.

Reference: The European Commission