THE PIG AND THE AREA OF MANTOVA: AN ANCIENT HISTORY
The production of cured meats is so well developed in the area of Mantova because it comes from a very ancient tradition of the breeding of pigs. It has been found out in fact that this particular breeding started already in the Etruscan Age, almost 2500 years ago.
Pig breeding and the production of cured meats developed and intensified during the centuries, always in the footsteps of methods handed down from generation to generation. Several historical findings witness the presence and the typical characteristics of the salami of Mantova, that is still produced through acts, rituals and ancient procedures, which have been further developed by the use of modern techniques.
These findings report recipes to prepare salamis, edits, inventories, menus of dinners at the court of the noble Gonzaga family. The ruling family of Mantova employed its own masin or masalin (in Italian ‘norcino’, a salami craftsman), a profession, which in those times was highly valued and defined in antique Italian ‘perfecto maestro de tal mestero’ (the most suitable maestro for such a profession). This person was an expert in pig breeding and butchery, as well as in the preparation of exceptional cured meats and typical dishes. It is said that even Isabella d’Este was very fond of salami, in particular of the specific version including ‘the tongue’.