Description: The Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre PGI is a sausage made from the meat of either pure bred or cross bred Bisara pigs with the addition of small quantities of chicken, game, bread, extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic and spicy seasoning.
Production method: The principal cuts of pork used are from the head or near the bone. They are chopped into medium sized pieces to ensure uniform cooking. While the meat is still hot it is detached from the bone and minced and the bread and other ingredients are added. They are mixed together to form a smooth paste and stuffed into natural intestine casings. The sausages are then smoked for four days in a specialised smoking room or in a traditional fumeiro, with smoke made from burning the peat, oak, willow and poplar wood from the nearby woodlands. Then the Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre PGI sausages, the name of which derives from the fact that the sausages contains garlic, are placed in a temperature controlled room to cure until they acquire their characteristic aroma.
Distinctive features: The cold dry climate of the region means the Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre PGI sausage is smoked indirectly, in fact the local homes with their wood fires always burning, provide the perfect environment for a slow and gentle smoking process and the local wood confers its unique aroma to the sausage.
Production area: The area where Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre PGI is produced is in the municipal area of Montalegre, while the ingredients can come from Montalegre or the municipal areas of Boticas and Chaves, which are all in the Vila Real district.
History: The origin of Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre PGI dates back to the end of the 15th century and is associated with the arrival in Trás-os-Montes of a considerable number of Jews who were expelled from Castile in 1492. In fact, since they did not eat pork and needed to hide their identity and flee persecution, Portuguese Jews made the first Alheiras without pork and only used chicken and bread but maintained the same appearance as a typical meat product. Later the population of Trás-os-Montes adopted this sausage and added pork meat to it. The traditional local diet, influenced by local geography, climate and economy, and based principally on bread, potatoes and pork, also determined the ingredients of this sausage The making of the sausages became linked with religious and other local festivais and it is still the traditional custom today to give and receive presents of this smoked sausage.
Product specification (pdf)
Publication in EU official journal
Regulamento (CE) n.º 148/2007 da Comissão - L46/14 - 15.2.2007
Regulamento (CEE) n.º 2081/92 do Conselho - C 32/8
Publication in the Portuguese official journal
Aviso n.º 7854/2001, de 8 de junho