The many varieties of cured, dry sausages that are a mainstay of Catalan cuisine are known under the general name of ’embotit’. Perhaps the most typical and iconic embotit sausage in Catalonia is llonganissa. The sausage is made with lean pork, often shoulder and thigh, bacon, salt and pepper, and spices such as cinnamon, and usually stuffed into a natural gut casing. To make llonganissa, the meat is minced, the spices are added and the mixture is left for 24 hours. It is then stuffed into the casings and left to cure for about 45 days at a controlled temperature and humidity.
What distinguishes llonganissa from other similar cured sausages, such as fuet or secallona, is that llonganissa tends to be thicker. From 5 to 10 cm in diameter, a llonganissa sausage can be from 50 cm to a metre long, and weighs between 300 grammes and two and a half kilos. After purchase, the sausage should be kept hanging in a ventilated place and never in the refrigerator.
The most highly acclaimed and most characteristic llonganissa comes from the Catalan city of Vic, where the tradition of making the sausage goes back to the 14th century at least. Today, the llonganissa from Vic has its own Protected Geographical Indication. Its production is highly controlled and it can only be sold with a label that confirms its origin.
The decision to award Vic llonganissa its own geographical indication was in response to the Plain of Vic’s unique climate. Surrounded by mountains, there are frequent mists in the area and the temperatures are low, factors that affect the maturing process and lending it an exclusive and particular flavour.