The arrival of winter in Ibiza signals the start of the ancestral ritual of pig slaughter on the farms scattered about the countryside. As in many other places in Spain, friends and family gather together to help in the labour-intensive process of butchering and sausage preparation. There are four traditional sausages on the island: sobrasada, botifarra, botifarró and ventre farcit. In the past, slaughter day was a festive occasion when the meat that would feed a family over the course of a year was produced. The yield of that day would have to tide the family over until next winter’s sacrifice. The traditional dish eaten to on these occasions was arròs de matances (slaughter day rice), a pork-based dish accompanied by young wine.

It is easy to find typical Ibicenco sausages for purchase at the butcher shops and delicatessens of Santa Eulària des Riu. Of all four varieties, the star of the show is without a doubt sobrasada, made with lean pork mince, paprika, pepper and salt. When purchasing sobrasada, keep in mind that the thinner sausages are meant to be grilled or barbequed, while the fatter ones are meant to be spread thick on a slice of country bread. In the variety known as botifarra, the casings are stuffed with pork, suet, blood, salt and spices, and later cooked. The thin type is called botifarró. The other traditional sausage is known as ventre farcit (hog maw, or, literally, stuffed stomach) and is highly esteemed by islanders. It is made by boiling for hours a pig’s stomach previously stuffed with pork mince and chunks of tenderloin, spices and pepper.