Mortadella pronounced /morta'dɛl:a/ is a large Italian sausage or cold cut (salume /sa'lume/) made of finely hashed/ground heat-cured pork sausage which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). It is delicately flavored with spices, including whole or ground black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, coriander and pistachios and/or olives.
Traditionally the pork filling was ground to a paste using a large mortar (mortaio /mor'tajo/) and pestle. Two Roman funerary stele in the archaeological museum of Bologna show such mortars. Alternatively, according to Cortelazzo and Zolli Dizionario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana 1979-88, Mortadella gets its name from a Roman sausage flavored with myrtle in place of pepper.
In Bologna and the surrounding area, the boiled sausage known as Mortadella can be as heavy as 200 kilograms. Even weirder is the fact that it’s cut into the thinnest slices, so its taste and aroma can be fully appreciated.