Were I to ask you to name a Spanish sausage, the chances are you would mention Morcilla or cheer about Chorizo. But it is less likely that you would have much to say about Sobrasada.
It hails from the Balearic Islands so you may have seen it on a menu on, for example, Majorca. To be true Sobrasada the label must say the words Sobrasada de Mallorca de Cerdo Negro.
This tells you that the sausage is the authentic Sobrasada. One made entirely using pork from the black Balearic pig.
It must not only be made from meat from the black pig but its size is also important. It should have a diameter of at least four and a half centimetres.
The air on the Balearic Islands is too humid for the ham to be air dried, as it would be in some areas of mainland Spain.
Instead the climate, along with the type of capsicum used to preserve the meat, lead to the production of this very different, soft textured sausage. One that can, if you wish, be eaten uncooked on slices of bread.
But that is just one way. In the coming days we shall be publishing recipes based around the Sobrasada sausage.
In days of old the meat of the black Balearic pig was chopped, pressed and stirred by hand. Today machines grind the meat after which salt, black pepper and hot paprika is added.
Then the sausage meat is stirred thoroughly, using a machine, and then left in a refrigerated storeroom for one hour.
Later the sausage skins are filled and the ends tied with string. Once upon a time the sausages were dried in cellars for three or four months. A green coloured mould would form on the outside of the sausage. It is harmless, but did put people off buying the Sobrasada.
Today that is no longer a problem. The drying rooms used by modern producers of this sausage enables the drying process to be completed in just seven weeks, in conditions of a constant temperature and humidity.
The taste is different from that of the chorizo or morcilla sausage. Sobrasada tastes spicy but its softness makes it not only more succulent but much easier to chew. You can take longer over it, savouring that very distinctive taste.
In Spain, a pig is not a pig. They differ greatly. How they are kept, what they are fed on, how they are slaughtered and how the meat is kept thereafter.
When it comes to Sobrasada, do not accept imitations. Cheap versions exist today made using meat from a white pig or a mixture of that and the official black one from the Balearics.
You must try the real deal. Spanish sausage divides opinion. We all have our favourites and the chorizo will always be the emblematic Spanish sausage.
But I urge you to try the genuine, authentic Sobrasada sausage from the equally unique Balearic Islands.
It is now widely available. It is different. It is tasty. It is a superb Spanish food.