Mortadella is a large Italian sausage or cold cut made of finely hashed/ground heat-cured pork sausage which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). It is delicately flavored with spices, including whole or ground black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, coriander and pistachios, jalapeños and/or olives.
Traditionally the pork filling was ground to a paste using a large mortar and pestle. Two Roman funerary stele in the archaeological museum of Bologna show such mortars. Alternatively, according to Cortelazzo and Zolli Dizionario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana 1979-88, mortadella gets its name from a Roman sausage flavored with myrtle in place of pepper.
Mortadella originated in Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna; elsewhere in Italy it may be made either in the Bolognese manner or in a distinctively local style. The mortadella of Prato is a Tuscan speciality flavoured with pounded garlic. The mortadella of Amatrice, high in the Apennines of northern Lazio, is unusual in being lightly smoked. Because it originated in Bologna, this contributed to the naming of the American meat bologna.
Mortadella Bologna has Protected Geographical Indication status under European Union Law. The zone of production is extensive: as well as Emilia-Romagna and the neighbouring regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Marche and Tuscany, it includes Lazio and Trentino.
Mortadella is very popular in Spain and Portugal, where a variety with pepper and olives is widely consumed, especially in sandwiches. Sometimes, in Eastern Spain, the standard mortadella is referred to as mortadela italiana ("Italian mortadella"), because there is a local variant named Catalana or "Catalan mortadella".
In Croatia and Slovenia mortadella is known as mortadela and widely eaten all over both countries. In Poland 'mortadela' slices are sometimes dipped in batter, fried and served with potatoes and salads as a quicker (and cheaper) alternative to traditional pork chops. In several Arab countries, like the UAE, Qatar and Syria, halal mortadella is sold, which is made from chicken, beef, or turkey, while the halal counterpart is generally called luncheon.
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What is Mortadella?, www.wisegeek.com
Veal Mortadella, www.coquinaria.nl