The Bra sausage is a real element of identity, to the point that is protected by a dedicated consorzio. The “salsiccia” called also “salciccia” of Bea is a traditional product of the butcher’ shops of the city called “town of the Zizzola”. In Piedmont the production is very various according to the different traditions and local habits. One of the finest type is prepared with bovine lean meats and pork fat. Once the sausage was prepared using only bovine meats, because in the near city of Cherasco there was an important Jewish community who bought food at the Bra market and required sausages with no pork meat.
This tradition seems to be officialised by a Royal Decree issued by the Albertine Statute, which allowed the butchers of Bra to use cattle meat to prepare fresh sausages; this was a unique case in Italy, because at the time it was forbidden to use this meat for the production of the sausages. The dough of the Bra sausage is made of lean cattle meat mixed with belly pork (20-30%), water and a mix of spices such as: salt, pepper, aromatic herbs. The forcemeat is finely milled and put in a natural gut. It must be realised using 800g of bovine meat and 200g of belly pork for per kilo (there are allowed about 100g of difference for each kind of meat).
To the mixture are added many spices such as the Ceylon cinnamon, carnation, confetti, allspice, nutmeg, mace, caraway seeds, natural aromas. In some particular recipes, which are more innovative than the traditional one, it is possible to add white wine and Parmesan. It is compulsory to put the dough into a natural lamb gut and it is forbidden to use synthetic ones. Generally the sausage is eaten raw but it is very good also grilled. The final product has an elongated cylindrical shape, with a diameter between 2 and 3 centimetres. The surface is smooth and it is minimum 1 metre long, but it depends on the length of the gut. Inside it is red with some white globules, the texture is compact and tender.
The denomination “Salsiccia di Bra” is dedicated and reserved to the typical products realised with bovine and pork meat, which respect the standard of production and which are realised in the geographical area included in the district of the municipality of Bra. It must be produced using fresh meats only, coming from Piedmontese breedings. All the bovines are bred in the farmhouses nea Bra following a traditional method and using cereals. The animals are slaughtered in Bra, where there is still one of the few private slaughterhouses existent. The selling is possible only in the butcheries of Bra, not outside the municipality, as established by the Consorzio. Outside the municipality it is possible to find it only in restaurants.
Moreover the Bra sausage has been included in the “Atlante dei prodotti tipici tradizionali del Piemonte” (see dell’articolo 8 del Dlgs 30 aprile 1998, n. 173 e del Dm n. 350 del 8 settembre 1999). In the local tradition this sausage is more important than other sausages. It not need to be seasoned and so it is consumed fresh during all the year.
It is consumed non only in the Cuneo province, but in the whole region. The Bra sausage is consumed raw as appetiser and it is used in the preparation of many recipes such as tajarin, polenta, BBQ etc.
Who buy this sausage and wants to eat it raw, must do it within few days, but it is possible to buy the vacuum salsiccia and store it in the fridge at 0-4° C, for 4/5 days. It can also be frozen. In Piedmont you can taste the Bra sausage in all the most important restaurants of the region.
The “Mac’d Bra” sandwich is conquering all the palates. It is the street food version of the Bra sausage and it is realised using only “made in Piedmont” products: long leavened Bra bread, alpine cheese (hard Bra PDO), local lettuce and raw and cooked sausage.
History and valorisation projects about the Braidese Consorzio
The Consorzio for the protection and the valorisation of the Bra sausage was born in May 2003 and was officialised in December of the same year during the “Rassegna braidese della carne di razza piemontese”. It was founded at the behest of the Corsorzio of the Bra butchers and of the Ascom of Bra, with the aim to valorise and protect the Bra sausage, in a way similar to the Royal Decree issued by the Albertine Statute which allowed only the butchers of Bra to use cattle meat to prepare fresh sausages; this was a unique case in Italy, because at the time it was forbidden to use this meat for the production of the sausages. Since June the new president of the Consorzio is Tommaso Testa owner of the historical butchery “Da Masino”, which he obtained from Domenico Scaglia.
Among the promotional innovations developed by the Consortium for the protection and enhancement of the Bra sausage, we have to mention the opening of the butcher shops on Sunday morning; this it is very important because it allow tourists to buy and take home thia delicious sausage. And so every Sunday, from 8.30 to 12.30, two members of the Consortium open their shops. Valorise this sausage, which the whole world envies, and to serve it fresh during the weekend when many tourists come to town, gives us the opportunity to make it more famous and to improve the local economy. Every Sunday morning there are two open butchers, possibly located in two opposite areas of the city of Zizzola to make easier to be found by the greatest number of consumers. The calendar is available in each butchery, on the Ascom website, in the tourism offices of Bra and Pollenzo and both on the Municipality and Consorzio webpage.
Another idea of the Consorzio to promote the Bra sausage is the “Mac’d Bra” sandwich is conquering all the palates. It is the street food version of the Bra sausage and it is realised using only “made in Piedmont” products: long leavened Bra bread, alpine cheese (hard Bra PDO), local lettuce and raw and cooked sausage.
Here there is the list of the eleven butcheries recognised by the Consorzio: (in the past they were 28); each of them hands down its recipe, which is based on the use of fresh bovine fassona meat, pork fat and spices, some add also wine and cheese. Here you can see the list: “Aprato”, in via Vittorio Emanuele II 162; “Giovanni Beltramo”, in via Audisio 3; “Bruno Carena”, in via Vittorio Emanuele II 55; “Adriano Fissore”, in via Visconti Venosta 69/B; “Flavio Fissore”, in via Vittorio Emanuele II 302; “Da Masino”, in piazza Roma 20; “Milanesio”, in via Vittorio Emanuele II 10; “Domenico Scaglia”, in via Rambaudi, 27; “Bernardo Tibaldi”, in via Vittorio Emanuele II 79; “Davide Tibaldi”, in corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 20.