Produced in the Małopolska region, kiełbasa lisiecka (sausage from Liszki) is the most popular Polish sausage next to the traditional kabanos and krakowska sausages. As of last October, this product has enjoyed the status of a protected specialty from Poland, after the European Commission entered it in the European register of protected geographical indications and designations.
The special feature of kiełbasa lisiecka is that 85 percent of the meat used in its production is pork ham. Producers have their own additional post-slaughter classification of meat to describe the usefulness of different cuts of meat for production. Most of the meat in kiełbasa lisiecka is roughly cut (3-5 cm cubes), which is why you can clearly see pieces of meat surrounded by more finely chopped stuffing in a slice of this sausage.
The flavor of kiełbasa lisiecka is provided by seasoned pork with the light taste of pepper, the aroma of garlic and the distinct presence of salt. When kiełbasa lisiecka is smoked, which takes place in traditional smoking chambers, the smoke and heat comes from the burning wood of deciduous trees-alder and beech or fruit trees. This gives kiełbasa lisiecka its distinctive smell and flavor.
The tradition of making kiełbasa lisiecka dates back to the 1930s. The product developed from the chunky sausages for which Cracow meat processing businesses are famous. Kiełbasa lisiecka became a separate product thanks to the unique recipe used by butchers from around Liszki and Czernichów, which was a closely guarded secret in the old days. During World War II production became difficult but never stopped. Butchers also continued to make the sausage after the war, even though this was illegal and sometimes punished. Kiełbasa lisiecka is produced today mostly by people who kept up the tradition when times were tough and still stick to the traditional recipes. In a Cracow food guide published in 1966, food critics expressed admiration for kiełbasa lisiecka and described it as unique thanks to its ingredients and the recipe that fills it with large and tender chunks of meat with a wonderful flavor.
The best-known producer of kiełbasa lisiecka is Stanisław Mądry from Nowa Wieś Szlachecka in Liszki commune. He has formed a consortium of local producers of kiełbasa lisiecka that handles production, promotion and protection of this product. His own kiełbasa lisiecka has won awards in many competitions. It is sold not just to stores in Poland but also 11 outlets in Berlin. The product has been popular at European trade events, including the world-famous Salone del Gusto regional products fair in Turin, Italy, organized by the Slow Food organization. Kiełbasa lisiecka was eaten by Britain's Prince Charles when he was in Cracow and it has been tasted by the president of Malaysia. Pope John Paul II is also said to have liked it.
The fame of kiełbasa lisiecka and its high price means that fake varieties appear on the market. The scale of this "sausage forgery" increased when the original became a regional product. Recently the State Trade Inspectorate (PIH) in Cracow warned consumers against dishonest producers of kiełbasa lisiecka. One company that put a poultry-meat version of the sausage on the market is being investigated by prosecutors; the poultry-meat product confuses consumers with its name, kiełbasa lisiecka drobiowa (meaning made from poultry meat), which is not a permitted name because kiełbasa lisiecka can only be made from pork.