The word 'mortadella' dates back to the Roman period. According to some sources, it derives from 'Mortarium' (mortar), an instrument which was used to mash pork. The production of Bolognese sausage, however, can be located in an area of great Roman influence and which extends from Emilia Romagna to the region of Lazio. In fact mortadella is the most well known cold-cut of the Bolognese tradition, with historical origins dating back to the 16th century. In recent times the original production area has extended also to neighbouring areas. As from the late Renaissance period, the presence of mortadella on Italian tables is widely evidenced by the many literary and historic witnesses. A rather picturesque curiosity is linked to cinema: Mario Monicelli's film 'La Mortadella' shot in 1971, where Sophia Loren, a Neapolitan country girl goes to New York to meet her boyfriend. She is stopped at the airport because of a chunk of mortadella, whose importation in America was prohibited.
The Bolognese sausage can be eaten in many different ways. It can be sliced in little cubes and served with fresh vegetables and cheese, or it can be finely sliced and used as a stuffing to flavour typical dishes which are meat-based or rustic timbale.
The real mortadella di Bologna is labelled with the consortium's mark and the community's Pgi label.