As Americans, we all know bologna (or baloney). What some may not know is that this typically cheap lunch meat was inspired by the delicately delicious mortadella. Mortadella is a pork sausage that originates from…you guessed it…Bologna, which is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Mortadella is made from ground pork, hard pork fat (usually coming from the neck), black pepper, and many times, pistachio or myrtle berries. Like many other Italian foods, there are strict rules that must be followed during production for a Mortadella from Bologna to receive the IGP stamp (a mark of quality given to foods specific to a region of Italy). There is no allowance for cutting corners.
Boloney, on the other hand, can be made with a variety of things. In most cases, beef and pork are used, but not always the choicest cuts. It is not uncommon for scraps, end pieces, and organs to be included. Some brands might even use a synthetic casing containing collagen or a little plastic…yuck.
Tasting the two next to each other is the easiest way to understand the differences. Mortadella practically melts in your mouth, while bologna…well, you get it.