Sausages from Metsovo

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Sausage making in Epirus, a geographical region between Greece and Albania, has long been linked to the local Vlahi culture and people, and the town of Metsovo, commonly regarded as the capital of Vlahi in Greece, is highly regarded for its sausage making traditions. Besides the quality of pork meat, a factor of the local environment and climate, sausages from Metsovo are distinguished because they usually include either wine, or cheese, or sheep and beef meat.   In case of the Metsovo sausage with wine, the wine should be of the Katogi type from local wineries. In case of the Metsovo sausage with cheese, it should be the Metsovone cheese – a local PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) product. In case of the Metsovo sausage with sheep and beef meat, the quantity of sheep meat should not exceed 15% and the quantity of beef meat should not exceed 15%, with the remaining meat coming from pork. Producers should use sheep and beef meat of Greek origin.   To prepare the sausages, raw materials and deboned pork meat are minced into a medium dice and left to rest for 2 to 4 hours. Then the sausages are made, wrapped in natural casings made from intestines. Sausages are then left to dry in an insulated area for 48 hours at a temperature of 16°C, or for 5 days at a temperature of 13°C with an average humidity of 65 – 75%. The raw sausage is then ready for the market.   This quality and peculiarity of local sausages are related to two factors. Metsovo is located in a highly mountainous area full of oak forests that are well suited for semi-wild pork farming. Additionally, Metsovo is the home of a very specific Greek gastronomic heritage – deeply linked to the local Vlahi culture and people, and local butchers and meat processors have gained specific skills and know-how in meat processing. Unfortunately today, the link between the local community and this product is eroding. There is only one company still producing them for commercial sale, and the craft of preparing them in the home is also disappearing.

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Cured meats and meat products