The Biroldo, a typical cured meat from Media Valle del Serchio and Garfagnana, resembles a dark brown round loaf, with a strong scent and flavour. The meat used to produce the Biroldo mainly comes from small local farms and, occasionally, from pigs imported from other parts of Italy. The Slow Food terms guarantee the safe processing of biroldo and state that the pig’s head, heart, tongue, rind and lungs are cooked in a boiler for about three hours. After deboning the head, the boiled meat is cut into small pieces and mixed with a combination of lard, blood, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and cloves. The filling is done manually using the pig’s bladder or stomach (the “buzzetto”), which is then sawn and boiled for another three hours in the same broth in which the meat was cooked. The biroldo is then air cooled over a rack in order to drain the excess fat. This cured meat contains no preservatives, colour stabilizers or thickeners and was traditionally cut with a knife and served cold with local potato bread or chestnut polenta.
The Savoury Cured Meat