Ark of taste
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U’suzu (also known as jelatina) is a poor man’s product that was created with the aim of recovering some of the waste from pig slaughter. It is a jelly made from pork rind, the meat of the pig’s head and feet, to which tongue or tripe was also added.

In the inland areas of Calabria, each family raised one or more pigs each year and no part of the animal went to waste after slaughtering. Slaughtering was once a real community feast: friends and neighbours were invited to take part. Participation in these activities marked membership of the family community, marking it in a solid and tangible way. The vucciari (butcher), who supervised and controlled the work, was a trustworthy and experienced person with a high social prestige among the community.

In order to make suzu after slaughtering, the different parts were carefully prepared: first they were shaved, then scraped, bleached with salt and lemon and finally rinsed well. Much attention must be paid to the preliminary operations, especially those dedicated to the head: the soft parts must be removed, all the blood clots produced after slaughtering must be eliminated and all the orifices must be well cleaned. The tongue and tripe must be scalded and thoroughly cleaned. At this point, everything is boiled in abundant water for about 2 or 3 hours, after which the solid parts are separated and the broth is carefully filtered and left to rest. In the meantime, the rind is cut into small pieces along with the tongue and tripe, while the head and feet must be scraped from the well-cooked meat and their rind. All the resulting meat is chopped up once more. The broth is taken up and put on the fire, adding 1/3 of red vinegar. When it comes to the boil, all the chopped up parts of the meat are put back into the pot to cook for a few moments. The solid parts are taken out of the pot with a long ladle and put into large glass jars, half filled with foodstuffs. The remaining broth is used to fill the jars, leaving about three fingers from the neck. Within a few hours the jelly starts to solidify and everything is stirred slowly.
This prevents the solid part from piling up at the bottom of the jars during solidification. After 24 hours, the pork jelly is ready. Traditionally, the best way to preserve it was to sprinkle the top of the jar with pork fat to create a cap. It is kept in a cool, dry place and can be stored for over a year. In the past, terracotta was preferred to glass.
The finished product has a white-grey colour tending to pink. It has a gelatinous taste and the vinegar gives it a fresh touch that goes very well with the stronger and fatter flavours of the parts used.

Today this product is rarely found on the market. A few small butchers’ shops are known for their craftsmanship. Little demand from the market. It is produced mainly for self-consumption in the family circuit.

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Production area:Calabria internal areas

Other info


Cured meats and meat products

Nominated by:Mattia Maruca