Ciauscolo is not your average Italian sausage. It has the texture of a paté and is eaten spread on a piece of bread. It is believed to come from the Gallic people who were living in the Marche region of Italy at one point. They prepared a paté made with minced meat that was conserved in terracotta terrines, (a tradition that is still common in France.) Ciauscolo, on the other hand, is put in animal casings rather than earthenware. At the height of its popularity, some local producers kept their ciasucolo under oil in jars. The origin of the name, ciauscolo, is uncertain.
The most credible theory suggests that it derives from the Latin word cibusculum, meaning “little food” or snack. This theory is supported by the fact that the sausage is often eaten as a snack, still today.
Traditionally, the meat used to make this sausage was chopped by hand with a meat cleaver. The cleaver’s heavy blade minced the meat very finely. Today, the meat is passed through a meat grinder three times using increasingly small screens. The meat comes from the more flavorful cuts of pork: prosciutto, pancetta, and spalla, or shoulder. Extra fat is minced with the meat. The meat is flavored with simple seasonings, like garlic, pepper and salt, pounded in a mortar. Sometimes a drop of wine is added. The meat is then put into a casing made from small intestine and smoked with juniper wood for a couple of days. It is then aged in a cellar for 2 to 3 months. Ciauscolo is produced in and around Macerata and in areas reaching all the way up to Umbria.