Longaniza chocoana, a type of sausage that has been made for generations, is one of the most typical products of the municipality of Quibdó. Its distinctiveness comes from the use of local ingredients, such as traditional aromatic wild herbs. These herbs give the product its characteristic flavor of Pacific cooking. In addition, the special preparation of the pork and the smoking process create a highly successful combination among local dishes.
The ingredients used to make it are pork, dried, smoked pig gut, onion, pepper, garlic, achiote or bija, vegetables and aromatic herbs (cilantro, basil, mint, oregano, scallions and cabbage). All the ingredients are minced with the meat and then used to stuff the pig gut. The ends are tied and the sausages are left to dry in the sun. They are then smoked slowly to produce the final smoky flavor. The sausages can be cooked until the meat and casing are soft, or they can be roasted, which gives them a crispier finish.
In Quibdó longaniza is eaten fried, cooked together with plantain or banana. It is also the main ingredient in traditional rice dishes, such as arroz con longaniza – another typical local dish – and arroz atollado. If roasted, the sausage is eaten straight from the oven. This traditional sausage is highly prized locally and is eaten at special celebrations and festivals. It is also sought-after by visitors and tourists. At the traditional San Pancho festival, for example, every neighborhood organizes music and stalls offering food and drink, where longaniza takes pride of place.
Longaniza came about as the result of two cultures coming together. The Spanish brought pig farming and sausage-making to Colombia, while the use of aromatic herbs and achiote, a wild plant that gives the sausage a distinctive flavor and a beautiful red color, can be attributed to the African and indigenous communities. Without refrigeration, this sausage was used in the past as a way of preserving meat by smoking. Most longaniza production and consumption is in the Quibdó region. However, there are producers in towns and cities who have inherited the tradition and keep this sausage alive in local food culture. As it is an artisanal product for local markets, it is difficult to get an idea of annual quantities. The product can also be found in restaurants and at street food stalls in many parts of the city.
The product is at serious risk of extinction, as younger generations – young people and children – do not like to eat longaniza, which means that it is only eaten by adults and elderly people. This is alarming, considering the product’s potential, both for the increasing number of people who produce it and its high cultural and nutritional value.