Tag: birth

Finocchiona, the Tuscan salami that gives birth to honey and flowers – Italian Cuisine


Between local salamis – that in recent years have become less salty and fat, especially when it comes to PDO and PGI – some represent the excellence of a specific region. It is the case of the finocchiona, guaranteed IGP, where theGeographical Indication that is Protected is that of Tuscany.

Unlike bresaola, for example, which is produced in various areas of Northern Italy but only that of the Valtellina is Igp, thea finocchiona is Igp in the round: it is produced only in the land of Dante, where it stands out among the salamis for his unparalleled taste since the times of the Middle Ages. THE Igp products they are by nature intimately linked to the territory they come from, and the finocchiona is so virtuous. In fact the 42 companies that are currently part of the Finocchiona IGP protection consortium, born in 2015 following the European recognition of the IGP brand for this sausage, they work in synergy with other local realities, with the benefit of the earth and the economy.

We are talking in particular of the connection between the sausage, i flowers and honey, but not in terms of culinary combinations (the cured meats however they combine masterfully with fruit, did you know?). So: let's start with the basics. The name of this salami derives from the particular taste given by the use of wild fennel that nature provided in abundance in the Tuscan fields and hills. Today this herb is no longer so widespread in nature and therefore is cultivated. The success of this product, in Italy and abroad, is given in recent years above all by his biological version. "The search for the ingredients in line with this market demand prompted companies to find ingredients of this type: in my case, for the organic fennel, the collaboration with a local organic farm was born, which has a cultivation of about 25 hectares of this plant "- says the President of the Alessandro Iacomoni Consortium.

178102"An agri-food product with Protected Geographical Indication has a close link with the territory and its ecosystem, and farmers must find a balance with the environment thinking of organic as the way to preserve nature and with it health. THE chemical products already used in cultivation many of these balances broken, among which a very important element of this system which is the bee, fundamental for the pollination and maintenance of biodiversity ", he adds Giuseppe Genca, the organic fennel grower "So when a local beekeeper asked me to host this year about forty beehives in the fennel field, it was more than welcome. This insertion will not only give the possibility to have a better pollination of the fennel plants, but will also allow to keep the territory under control. In fact bees are important sentinels for the state of health of nature. Moreover, thanks to the hives installed, we could produce fennel honey, which is a specialty in the beekeeping sector. "

ISHere is how honey also comes from Finocchiona, the only real natural sweetener that defends us from pesticides and thanks to finocchiona the bees are protected, which last spring in Tuscany they risked dying of hunger: "The number of bees this year has been drastically reduced due to bad weather, worsening an already worrying situation, not only in our region but all over Italy, due to pollution and pesticide use. The crisis does not only fall on beekeepers but is fundamental in the balance of agriculturehe has declared the President of Arpat (Reg. Association of the Tuscan Bee Producers), Duccio Pradella The insertion of the hives in the fennel fields, which blooms in summer, provides the bees with one more source of sustenance. We can say that thanks to Finocchiona Igp we will have the production of a "new" monoflora honey, a production that will not be immediate but certainly a welcome novelty ". (Here are 5 other ways we can help the bees survive).

The result is that savoring this sausage the cuthe recipe has remained almost unchanged in centuries, is no longer an act of pure gluttony, but also friendship towards the environment and therefore of ourselves. But what is this recipe, then? First of all, the finocchiona is produced with The best selections of pork of Italian genealogy. In addition to meat, the production disciplinary provides seeds and / or fennel flowers, garlic, salt and pepper. The traditional recipe may provide dough also the Red wine.

The amounts of each ingredient can to vary within a well-defined range, allowing producers a touch of craftsmanship and imagination in customizing their own recipe and the final result according to their tradition which, in most cases, goes back to that handed down from their ancestors.

'La Finocchiona Igp, if you like Tuscany with character ", is the motto of the Consortium. And in the taste of those lands it certainly also stands out for protecting one's own nature.

Carola Traverso Saibante
September 2019


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Birth and history of broccoli, from the Etruscans to the present – Italian Cuisine

Birth and history of broccoli, the vegetable with extraordinary beneficial properties: from the invention of the ancient Romans to the spread in Europe, up to the landing in America

In the very wide variety of vegetables "made in Italy", one particularly worthy of interest because of his valuable nutritional properties and the broccoli, or the cabbage variety notoriously little loved by children. This vegetable, a real cure-all for our health, is now widespread in most of Europe and the world, but few know that it originated in southern Italy. Let's go then to discover the main stages in the history of broccoli, starting from the Etruscans and the ancient Romans and arriving until the landing in the United States.

Broccoli, the vegetable loved by the Etruscans and ancient Romans

The cabbage family, to which the broccoli belongs, he was much loved by the Etruscans, who appreciated both the taste and the beneficial properties.
This ancient civilization of skilled navigators was in fact devoted to cultivation and it is thanks to the Etruscans and their famous Mediterranean trade that the cabbage also reached the Phoenicians, the ancient Greeks and the populations of the current islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Big cabbage lovers were also the ancient Romans, so much so that the famous naturalist Pliny the Elder, between the years 23 and 79 AD, wrote about how this civilization used to cultivate and cook them. It is to them that the merit of the creation of the first variety of broccoli, called Calabrian broccoli, as well as the etymology of the term that derives from the Latin brachium, ie arm, branch or sprout. It is said that the Romans used to boil broccoli along with a mixture of spices, onion, wine and oil (as evidenced in the cookbooks of the Apicius gastronomist) or serve them accompanied to creamy sauces prepared with aromatic herbs or wine, as it is said that they used to eat them raw before banquets to ensure that the body absorbed alcohol better.

The sapling-shaped superfood that has conquered the world

There broccoli spread outside the Italian territory he began in 1533, when Caterina de ’Medici married Henry II and introduced this precious vegetable into the French court, of which at the time were also part of Italian chefs. After France it was the turn of theEngland, where the broccoli were nicknamed Italian asparagus, as mentioned in the 1724 edition of Gardener's Dictionary by Miller. In both countries, broccoli became popular with the passage of time, but the initial reception was not the best, also due to the unpleasant smell of sulfur emanating during cooking. In 1922 two immigrants from Messina brought broccoli seeds to California, giving rise to the first plantation in the city of San Jose, and then contributed to their distribution also in other cities. In the United States, unlike European countries, these vegetables established themselves rapidly and successfully, and already in the 30s their popularity was consolidated.

Around the world in the last thirty years, thanks to new cooking methods and new discoveries on health benefits, including antioxidant properties that help prevent some forms of cancer, the consumption of broccoli has tripled. The most known and loved varieties are the Calabrese, rosette-shaped, and the Romanesco broccoli, known for its pyramidal shape with many small spiral rosettes.

Photo: broccoli_Pixabay.jpg
Photo: history of broccoli_churl_Flickr.jpg

Cheat’s mayonnaise

So it happened: the very worst thing. I got norovirus. And just to make sure everyone else had a miserable time, too, I Tweeted about it step by step, reminding those on shift work at 5am that I had now been vomiting for EIGHT HOURS, reminding those getting up with their kids at 7am that I had now been going for TEN HOURS – like some terrible telathon.

But in the end, you know, it wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was the most physically traumatising thing to happen to me apart from giving birth – but once you’ve had it once, you know the drill. Puke so hard it feels like you’re going to turn inside out all night and then sit back for the next day sipping Ribena, graciously accepting an avalanche of sympathy. People are so nice about it that it almost makes it worth having.

And anyway you have to shrug these things off. Like you do when, say, when the Mail rings you and offers you enough money to pay for Christmas, an iPhone and a small non-extradition island in the Caribbean to write a slightly controversial piece for them, and then you get a bit carried away and then get over-excited strangers jumping on your head for days and days because they haven’t worked out yet that no-one writing in the Mail actually means a word they say, (apart from Melanie Phillips). Like that. You have to shrug that off, too – while crossing your fingers that Samantha Brick pops up again to re-direct some heat.

And Christmas. I think I might shrug Christmas off this year. We haven’t got a tree yet. I didn’t get an advent calendar until December 4th. I haven’t done any festive baking. I’m not even that excited about this year’s wrapping paper colour combination (purple with lilac ribbon printed with white snowflakes). It’s the last year I’ll be able to shrug it off, though. I think Kitty will be aware of Christmas next year and we won’t be able to get away with anything less than a 10ft tree and an actual herd of reindeer in the garden. I’m not saying I’m anti-Christmas, before you all get your flipping pitchforks out, I’m just saying that I am shrugging off the pressure.

I’m relaxing, too, about doing things like making my own pastry. I used to insist on making my own pastry before I realised that only people very devoted to the idea of from-scratch baking or who don’t happen to have a packet of Jus-Roll in their freezer or who don’t have children make their own. It’s not that time-consuming, it’s just so much easier getting it out of a packet. Go ahead! Judge me! I don’t care! Not after the week I’ve had.

I’m also henceforth never making my own mayonnaise again, having discovered a way of tarting up Hellman’s that is so satisfying that I actually feel more smug about doing it than making my own. My mother always makes her own mayonnaise, even when we were small, but she has the patience of a saint and was always able to deftly tune out the murderous squabblings of children, humming as she drizzled the oil into the yolks: dum de dum “FUCKING BI…. HATE Y” dum de dum de dum “I’M GOIN TO FUCKING KIL” tum te tum te tum “FAT C” dee dee dum “UCK OFF!!!” dee dee deeeee.

Anyway so this is my cheat’s mayonnaise, which is just super. We have been buying small cooked shrimp from the fishmonger recently and we have it with that, but I recommend you deploy it as an accompaniment to all cold cuts and elaborate sandwiches this festive season.

Some Hellman’s mayonnaise (or whatever you’ve got)
an unpeeled garlic clove
lemon juice
some olive oil
hot smoked paprika

So what you do is start with the mayo in a bowl get some olive oil, dribble a bit in, then some salt and pepper and lemon juice. Taste. Do it all again until you think it tastes nice. You might like a grassier mayonnaise than me.

Now take a clove of garlic and without bothering to peel it, stick it in a crusher and then crush until just a little scraping comes out and flick that into the mayo and stir. You just want a hint of garlic, because too much is just terrible for the digestion and extremely antisocial. If you had some garlic oil I think that would do the job of the olive oil and the garlic in one.

If you are planning to have this with seafood, a dollop of tomato ketchup – 1/2 a teaspoon I’d say, turns this into a Marie Rose sort of thing.

Finish with a rakish dash of paprika.


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