For a change we went on a Chianina and Cinta Senese tour in Tuscany to discover an organic farm that raises Chianina calfs and Cinta Senese pigs.
The most valuable beef steak in Italy comes from the white Chianina cows. Chianina is also called the “white giant” because of the white color and the huge size. The homeland of this magnificent animal is the Valdichiana area. Most people know Chianina from the steak, but meat lovers also like other parts of the animal.
The Cinta Senese is a pig breed from the province of Siena. The pig owes its name to his black coat and white sash or belt (called cinta in Italian). The “white sash” runs across its shoulders, sides and front legs. The Cinta Senese roams free range in the woodland, they like eating mushrooms, acorns and berries. The Cinta Senese is a very ancient Tuscan breed of pig.
The Chianina is an ancient Italian cattle breed. It originates in the area of the Valdichiana in Tuscany. In Etruscan and Roman times the Chianina was used for work, processions and served as a ritual offer to the Gods.
A mature bull stands up to max 2 meter and a weight of 1700 Kilo. Cows usually weigh 800-1000 Kilo. The coat has a pearl white color on a dark skin. Chianina is raised for its high quality meat. The steak is low in fat and cholesterol. The Tuscan breeders give them a mixture of wheat, corn, barley and straw. They feed them inside the shed, but they allow the cattle also to graze outside.
The Chianina breed is not made for fast growing and slaughtering. They were used for work but now they are raised for meat. The Chianina females are slaughtered after having calved for about 12-15 years. The mature bulls live shorter. The Chianina meat is hard to find outside Siena, Umbria and Lazio.
The meat is a product of extreme high quality and can be quite expensive. It is very healthy meat, low in fat and cholesterol. So… a good reason to try this Chianina steak at home! It has a pure taste, and besides Chianina has an IGP status.
A good wine to pair with the Chianina steak is Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.
Cinta Senese history
The story of the Cinta Senese pig dates back to 1300. They have been raised for centuries. Many frescos date back to the middle ages and Renaissance. The Cinta Senese breed is held in the province of Siena. It is a free range animal in the woodlands of Tuscany. They search for food in the forests. Cinta Senese has a high ability to live outdoor and has a high level of healthy fat.
For a pork they have a long and good life, because they live free and they can eat what they want. The average slaughter weight is about 200 kilo. The Cinta Senese females are slaughtered after having calved for about 10 years.
Today Cinta Senese meat has a DOP classification, this means that they cannot be bred and sold anywhere outside of Tuscany. Their meat will be transformed into typical local products such as salami, ham, salt bacon and capocollo. The meats are extremely delicious. A good local wine pairs perfect with the Cinta Senese meat.
Chianina and Cinta Senese Tour in Tuscany
Azienda Agricola Fierli is a four generations organic farm. They keep the Cinta Senese pork and the Chianina veal. In 1936 the family Fierli started with 5 hectares of land, 4 Chianina calfs and 3-4 Cinta Senese pigs. Now they keep 200 Chianina calfs and 300 Cinta Senesi pigs. Today the animals have 100 hectares agriculture land for grazing.
The organic farm Fierli has its biologic certificate. They keep the animals with great care and attention. Nicola, Cecilia, Francesco, Atos and Eros are all responsible for running the farm and the restaurant.
It is 3 years now that they organise Chianina tours in their own farm and restaurant. They start with a guided tour on the land and a food tasting – lunch at the restaurant. With the local food different kinds of wine are served.
The food they serve is organic and pure. A very interesting experience in the Valdichiana area, especially when you’re on a holiday in Tuscany or Umbria. It is also a nice experience for children! Tours are 2-3 times a week and have to be reserved.
For more information: ChianinaItaly