History and Traditions
The word nduja comes from French,maybe.In fact,the Transalpin word
andouillemeans sausage.In different parts of France, there is a
sausage made with tripe,liver and entrails,boiled with vegetables and herbs.Maybe,its
introduction in Calabria is due to French people,during the Napoleonic
Its a plain food,born of paisants needs to use the renmans of pork meat,destinated to landowners.In ancient times, nduja imposed itself not only for its nourishing value,but also for the therapeutical one;thanks to the abundance of chilli mixed with meat. Today, nduja is a successful product, because it departs from the mould of traditional sausages: its spread on bread,not cut in slices!and delicious also on toasts, served as horsdoeuvre and its a good seasoning, mixed in sauce for classical dishes, asfileja with ndujaand beans with nduja;being a versatile paté,nduja can also take place in a very elegant context of vintage wines and oils tasting. By representing Calabrian strong tastes,it enjoys the genuine image of positive values and strictly ties itself to the place where it was born
The quality of meats used to make nduja has a great influence on the final product organoleptic characteristics. Everybody is convinced that pigs breeding must correspond to traditional uses.This means stalling in the open air,pigs food based on cereals,pulses,acorns,bran,vegetables and fruits leftovers, not much slops or milk serum,few figs; also today,as in ancient times, its a habit to feed pigs with chick-peas and broad beans,one month before their slaughtering. Chilli has a rilevant role in the preparation of nduja.It comes from plants exclusively cultivated on Poro tableland.There are two varieties,locally called from Spilinga:the first is long-shaped,red-coloured and with hot flavour; instead,the second is round-shaped,red-coloured,but with sweet taste. Parts of both kinds of chilli are mixed in nduja and depending on their dosage,nduja will taste differently.
Mount Poro: rural Architecture. Spilinga is considered the native area of nduja production, even if this activity involves the whole Poro tableland area,actually:Ricadi,Limbadi,Rombiolo,Zaccanopoli,Zungri,Mesima valley and Serre,in the Province of Vibo Valentia. Poro tableland- ca. 5.600 km of extension and maximum altitude of 710 m.s.l.m.-enjoys particular climate characteristics and is rich in pastures,which have improved the development of an agropastoral activity,to which nduja brings its valuable contribute,as well.
To satisfy an increasing demand, also some factories producing salami in Catanzaro and Cosenza,started this activity.Anyway,that industrial final product shows the differences-regarding ingredients and working techniques-once compared to classicalnduja
Grinding,mixture and salting
Selected parts:fat,lard and bacon are finely ground with chilli(so to let chilli develop its antioxidant properties better)and then slowly kneaded, to get an omogeneous and creamy mixture. While kneading,salt is added. Making into sausages and fastening. The creamy mixture is sacked into a natural pork bowel,lorba,the blind, and then, fastened with string at the ends.
Its done,burning aromatic and resinous wood;normally,the essence of olive tree and robinia.Never use sawdust and other discarded materials!This operation occurs in proper places ,for 8-10 days.
Once smoked, the product is brought to well-aired places,where nduja gradually loses weight,dries and concentrates its taste and characteristic smell.
Maturing phase lasts 90-150 days.
Nduja is mainly produced by paisants,who breed few pigs:part of the production is for personal consumption and the rest is sold.Of course,there is also a specialized firm which produces exclusively nduja.
After sales increase,butchers as well developped the production of nduja on their own.
production of nduja is about 660-650q.,for craftsmen factories together with shops
produce about 300q.and rating the rimanent production at about 400-450q.
Then,considering that the price is ca. 13.000£ per kg.,the turnover should be around 800-850 millions lira.
Sausage factories production is half allocated to Calabrian market and the other part to extra-regional markets,national mainly,such as metropolitan big areas of Central and Northern Italy, where many families of Calabrian origins settled down,keeping alive a rilevant demand of this product.
In Calabria, nduja marketing develops through wholesalers or agents,who look after distribution to selling points:supermarkets,restaurants,sausage shops;that is to say,through a direct channel producer-consumer,especially during the nduja Festival of Spilinga,in August.
On national market,everything is in the hands of sausage factories, selling agents and wholesalers.
The most important period for marketing is February-September.
Nduja is prepared with simple raw materials, skilfully kneaded and matured and transformed in a delicious product,which can surely stand comparison with the most famous and expensive patés.
Nduja is the result of practical experiences,which made it a real typical product, through employed resources and technological processes.
The increasing demand opens new interesting prospects,as long as producers go on preserving the precious organoleptic qualities of this product,which can no doubt be considered as a unicum in the gastronomic survey.
The appreciation of nduja could be included in a wider context of several improving activities ,concerning an overall development of rural productions,agritourism,rural tourism,eno-gastronomic itineraries,the protection of natural resources and environment.
The achievement of DOP,still to be defined,with the consequent creation of a Consortium of producers and an aimed marketing strategy,can function as a catalyzer for a series of actions with beneficial effects on a marginal,but potentially productive and rich area.
F. ARCELLA, Prodotti
tipici di Spilinga e del Comprensorio del Poro, Edizioni O.G.G., Vibo Valentia, 1997