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Portuguese ham and sausages: Eat them sliced, raw, as a nibble before a meal, or to add flavour to cooked dishes.

Portuguese Pork Products

Sausages and Ham:
The Lowdown

Do you know your presunto from your chouriço? Here's a guide to help you out.

WORDS: Charles Metcalfe & Kathryn McWhirter|PHOTO: Shutterstock| 26 September 2014

Sausages and Ham:<br>The Lowdown

‘Presunto are served thinly sliced, usually as a pre-meal nibble, best at room temperature’

ALHEIRA
Light-coloured, garlicky, bready sausage, served hot. A 16th century invention of ‘undercover’ Jews who had been forced to convert ostensibly to Christianity; it looked like pork but was made of game and poultry – but now occasionally contains some pork.

CHOURIÇO
Dry-cured, smoked sausages made from pork, pork fat, red-pepper paste, wine, garlic and herbs. Eat it sliced, raw, as a nibble before a meal, or to add flavour to cooked dishes.

FARINHEIRA
Meatless, light-coloured sausage made from pork fat bound with flour and flavoured with spices, wine and garlic. Fiambre Boiled or roast ham.

LINGUIÇA
A thinner version of chouriço, often used in soups or stews.

MORCEL
A Black pudding, blood sausage. Also known as chouriço mouro, or chouriço de sangue.

PRESUNTO
Dry-cured smoked hams, of varying origins, qualities and prices. They are served thinly sliced, usually as a pre-meal nibble, best at room temperature. The finest are made from two breeds of pig: the porco preto (black pig) of the Alentejo, the bolota quality being especially rich and delicious; and from the Bísaro pig of the upper Douro Valley and Trás-os-Montes. Occasionally made from javalí, wild boar. Elsewhere in Portugal, cheaper presunto is likely to be made from ordinary pigs. Presunto serrano simply means that the pig was raised in the mountains.

PATA NEGRA (black foot)
Not an official term, often used for porco preto but also for another, less interesting beast.  

SALPICÃO
Small smoked sausage, like a thick but lean chouriço, made from pork tenderloin marinated in white wine, garlic and paprika. Also known as Paio.    

This is an extract from The Wine & Food Lover’s Guide to Portugal, published by Inn House Publishing. Reproduced with kind permission of the authors.

Look out for The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Porto & Gaia, due to be published before Christmas 2014.