In this corner of Northern Piedmont, where the waters of Lake Orta weave between the Novara mountains framed by wooded heights and a handful of suggestive villages, there is a particular cold cut among the protagonists of the assorted local gastronomy. A unique and delicious salami, which comes from the beautiful capital of the lake, a pearl of this body of water nestled between the Alps; Orta, together with the isle of San Giulio, creates one of the most picturesque frescoes of the north-west of Italy.
The liver mortadella from Orta is indisputably the main speciality of Lake Orta’s gastronomy and it belongs to the prestigious list of the PAT (Traditional Agricultural Product).
It is a cold cut of ancient origins and it is prepared in two different versions: cooked and raw. In the cooked type the mixture is finely minced. Today it is steamed while in the past it was cooked in big stockpots with boiling water. Once the mortadella was ready, it was aged for a few months.In the raw version, bacon and lean pork meat are added to the pork liver. It is salted and seasoned with herbs and spices, in addition to nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, lemon zest and red wine; the mixture is then stuffed in the natural bowel which is tied and aged for four or five months.
Easy to find in the shops of Lake Orta, you can taste the mortadella in a sandwich while visiting the village, its beautiful paved streets, the Broletto, where the general Council of Deputies of Novara’s Episcopal Feud exercised the legislative and executive power, Gemelli palace, Villa Bossi, seat of the municipality, the beautiful parish church of Santa Maria Annunziata and the enchanting views on the lake.
Instead, for those who prefer to taste it at the table, you can sit down in one of the restaurants of the area, where you can try it with polenta or with the panissa risotto.