‘Nduja – the Calabrian power

One of the most famous specialities of Calabria, the 'nduja, with its strong and unmistakable flavour, is a special kind of sausage (let's call it that), soft enough to be spread, but also very spicy enough to show its strength.

What exactly is this food with the strange name?

The ‘nduja (you can listen to the pronunciation here: ) grew out of the ancient, healthy belief that no part of the pig should be thrown away. This food, like so many others, began its life as food for the poor in the days when farmers had to give the valuable parts of the pigs to the landowners and they had to take care of the leftovers. Fortunately, this “compulsion” resulted in a very nutritious and even useful food. Given the ingredients, it’s easy to understand why ‘nduja is usually prepared in the winter months. The main ingredient is pork (of course, today this tasty dish is no longer prepared from the animal’s “innards” but from the fatty parts such as thighs, bacon or belly). The meat is minced and then mixed with the other main ingredient, a typical product from Calabria, the red chilli pepper. Of course, a little salt is also added. When the mixture is sufficiently homogeneous and creamy, it’s stuffed into a pig casing and lightly smoked. It’s then matured for three to six months.

peperoncino calabrese

Red and spicy

The characteristic red colour of ‘nduja comes from the famous Calabrian chilli pepper (peperoncino). One of the most popular products of the ‘boot nose’ hangs in garlands in many shops and shop windows. The hot peppers are used in abundance in the “nduja” (about 1 kilo of peppers per 2 kilos of meat). The result isn’t only a distinctly spicy taste, but also a soothing effect. The large amount of red pepper means that no colouring or preservatives are needed. This 100% natural product has a long shelf life and the pepper has a disinfecting effect that’s good for the digestion and circulation.

The birthplace of 'nduja

To be precise, 'nduja comes from the town of Spilinga, where every year on 8 August a festival is held in its honour. Over time, of course, the product has become so popular that it's spread throughout Calabria, so you can try it practically everywhere in the region.


Let’s taste it

The ‘Nduja is usually sold in the form of a spreadable sausage or in small jars, making it easy to buy and taste in Calabria. In the region, but also in many other parts of the country, it’s eaten in a variety of ways: simply as a spread on freshly baked homemade bread or hot toast, as a base for meat sauces, as an accompaniment to aged cheeses, on pasta or pizza, or even stuffed or in meatballs. If you’re in Calabria, don’t miss it. Enjoy it little by little, both for its strength and to really taste its special aroma.

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