Stortina is a small salami traditionally consumed in the southern part of the province of Verona (Basso Veronese). Passed down over many generations, the traditional production technique involves preserving the salami in lard to keep it fresh throughout the winter, as its small size means it would otherwise dry out too quickly. Terracotta pots were filled with many small salami, layered with ground, salted lard. A final, thicker layer, called the cappello (“hat”), was spread on top of the salami, and the full pot was then covered and stored in a cellar for as long as several months. Before consumption, the now-rancid cappello would be removed, but the salami underneath the lard would be perfectly soft, still fresh and fragrant. They are still eaten in the same way today, with fresh bread or grilled polenta. The name, from storto (“bent”), seems to derive from the slightly curved shape the salami have once packed in their casings. Other distinctive characteristics of the product are the use of quality cuts of pork (shoulder, loin, rump, ham and belly fat) and the seasoning, based on garlic macerated in white wine. Stortina is still made by Basso Veronese families during pigslaughtering season, and for some years now a contest has been organized: the Stortina Challenge, in which homemade salami face off against the few versions made by local professionals. Stortina is only very rarely offered by the area’s butchers, because of the care its production demands and the high costs involved. The use of ground lard and the superior cuts of pork in the mixture make it somewhat of a luxury product.
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