Frentano sausage, known in Italian as salsicciotto frentano, is a traditional cured meat from the upper and middle Sangro and Aventivo Valley, a hilly area on the eastern slopes of the Majella, along the course of the River Sangro, running from Lanciano to Casoli and on to Montenerodomo. Pork butchery has a long tradition here, and the sausage is mentioned in the 1592 Antichi Capitoli della città di Lanciano. It was so common at the time that it was necessary to define a market price. Further evidence of its popularity can be found in the accounts of the Convent of Santa Chiara in Lanciano, dating from the 18th century, which mention it as compensation for the lawyer who helped to settle the nuns’ disputes.
This noble tradition has not been lost, and Frentano sausage is still today one of the most interesting local gastronomic specialties, along with extra-virgin olive oil, a wide variety of sweets and breads and excellent pecorino and caciotta cheeses.
The cured sausages are made primarily from prized, lean cuts of pork—thigh, shoulder, loin and neck—with no more than 10 to 20% fat. The meat is ground to a medium coarseness and seasoned with salt and pepper . The peppercorns, the only spice added, are used either whole or crushed.
The mixture is packed into natural casings and hand-tied at the ends with string. The resulting sausage, around 25 centimeters long, is left to rest for a few days. After the fifth or sixth day, it is pressed under large wooden boards, giving it an irregular rectangular shape, a distinctive feature of this cured meat.
The salsicciotto then ages for up to two months (never more than three) and can also be stored under lard or oil. Like all cured meats that still strictly follow the traditional techniques, it is made mostly during the winter, from autumn to late spring.
Frentano Salsicciotto is produced from autumn until late spring.
Frentano area municipalities, Chieti province
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