Tuesday, 30 March 2010

'Nduja, where does it come from?

The ‘Nduja di Spirlinga was born as a humble dish prepared by farmers to use the remaining meat parts of the pig. The name ‘Nduja comes from the French word “andouille” that means “sausage”. Originally comes from the area of Vibo Valentia in the South area of Calabria, although nowadays is produced throughout the region.

The ‘Nduja origins are still not very clear, according to some historians it was introduced by the Spanish in the 1500’s together with the chilli, but as its name comes from the French word “andouille” it reminds of a French sausage that could have been imported in the Napoleon period around the years 1806-1815. It is believe that Gioacchino Murat Vicerè from Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon ordered the free distribution of a cured meat very similar to the ‘Nduja.

In the town where the ‘Nduja was originated every year around the 8th of August takes place the Festival of the ‘Nduja. A gastronomic celebration where all the habitants of the town get together to prepare several stands offering many traditional dishes based on the ‘Nduja. Street celebrations take place around the town ending at the main piazza with the famous dance “camijuzzu i focu”. This festival is the oldest celebration of the Vibo Valentia town.

Due to its peculiarity on how is eaten and its characteristics of pork meat and a large amount of pepperoncino (chilli) the ‘Nduja has become one of the most traditional and widely known foods of the region.

Although similar to a cured meat the ‘Nduja is actually a soft chilli and pork meat spread, best eaten spread on warm toasted bread or as a base for sauces and casseroles. However, if you don’t like or cannot resist the heat of chilli then best to avoid as it can be very hot.

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