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Mortadella is a large lightly-smoked Italian sausage, eaten cold. It is typically made of pork, although other mixtures of meat are possible, and originally it was flavoured with myrtle (hence the name, which comes ultimately from Latin murtum, ‘myrtle’), but nowadays its additional features are usually parsley, pistachios, or green olives. The first record of the word in an English text is in a letter from John Chamberlain dated 9 September 1613: ‘The duke of Savoyes ambassador … hath brought … a present from his wife of salaccioni, cervellate, mortadelle’.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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