In Linguaglossa, a village that is found on the slopes of Mount Etna, the sausage is prepared on a piece of wood (ceppo), which is made from a section of the trunk of an oak tree which grows within the Etna region. The wood is very dry due to the volcanic soils. If used in the correct manner, the ceppo lasts for decades: when the surface becomes uneven, great care is taken by local cabinetmakers to make it level again. In dialect it is called “chianca”, the same term that indicates the tree (oak chianca, olive chianca, fig chianca …): once upon a time, every Sicilian butcher had his own chianca that was used to work the meat and still today, in many parts of the island, the butcher is called “chiachiere”. Working over the ceppo, however, has only remained a strong tradition in Linguaglossa: here, even today, the butchers work on the ceppo, using their personal recipe, as the oldest of them tells us, who started at eight years old, climbing on a small wooden stool to get to the ceppo, where he boned pigs and kneaded the sausage.
The basic ingredients consist of a mix of thigh cuts, pancetta, guanciale, lard and capocollo, which are shredded into very small pieces using a “partiture” (a local style of knife) and then kneaded by hand and seasoned with salt, black pepper and wild fennel seeds that are harvested on Mount Etna. The quantity that is used of each cut changes from recipe to recipe and is a bit like the signature of the individual butcher. In some cases, the classic recipe is revisited and adapted a little with some other flavours: a pinch of spring onion or semi-dry tomato and seasoned provola. It is possible to understand that the mixture is perfectly blended by the sound that it makes in your hands and by the fact that it is possible to keep everything in a ball stuck to your finger. At this point it is stuffed into the natural casing and tied with string, forming strings of sausages that are about two meters long.
Linguaglossa sausage is eaten fresh and cooked, but some butchers hang it in a cool and well ventilated area for a short curing duration that lasts 20 to 25 days. The most classic recipe is grilled sausage with caliceddi, a spontaneous vegetable that is found spread on the slopes of Mount Etna, which is blanched and fried in a pan. According to tradition, “caliceddi e sasizza” cannot be missing from the table on November 11, the day of San Martino.
Furthermore, the Linguaglossa sausage is free of additives and preservatives and strongly represents the Slow Food campaign, in the defence of natural cured meats.
Linguaglossa, Piedimonte Etneo and Castiglione di Sicilia municipalities, in the province of Catania
The Linguaglossa municipality
Via Guglielmo Marconi, 25
Sfizi di Sicilia
di Anthony Russo
Via Umberto, 34/36
Bottega della carne
di Gianluca Arcidiacono
Via Roma, 228
Tel. 333 7994526
Presidium producers’ Coordinator
Antony Di Russo