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Enjoying food now as it would have been served in the Middle Ages

Prosciutto di cinta senese

Enjoying food now as it would have been served in the Middle Ages


Advise for Gluttons

The Cinta Senese, is a wild pig which lives in the woods and exists by eating acorns.  It has been living here since the times of the Etruscans and the Romans, both of which enjoyed savouring its delicious flavours.  The Cinta Senese is now used as a symbol of  traditional Tuscan cuisine. To sample this typical local dish is a very tasty way to enjoy a historical cultural experience

Visitors to the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena can visit the ‘Hall of Peace’ – ‘Sala della Pace’ (The name comes from a painting of a woman in white which has been chosen by UNESCO as a worldwide symbol of peace) painted  by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between 1337 and 1339.  On the right of the painting  you can see ‘ The effects of a well governed city’. Here the painting  illustrates  a  prosperous city and a well-organized country, we can see a farmer who is taking his pig to market in  Siena. There is a tethered pig which is almost totally black with a white band over its back.

Up until  twenty years ago, this type of animal was not particularly popular or appreciated  as a delicious food outside of the local area,  the meat was perceived as being too fatty and too expensive.  This salty pork  from Siena was distinguished from other hams because it was “Dry” and was judged to be a too strong a taste for palates which were accustomed to  Parma ham and the San Daniele ham. But thanks to the desire to retain old local food traditions and the interest in more unique and individual tastes of food rather than globalised standardised food we now have the opportunity to enjoy the miracle of Cinta Senese cured meats. The trend for enjoying local delicacies has saved this particular breed of animals from being extinct. In addition to enjoying the taste of Medieval Sienese pork it is considered almost essential for the visitors of this area to understand the  history of the civilization behind  the local cuisine, which includes the history of Duccio di Buoninsegna, the Siena Cathedral and the Siena Palio horse race.

Prosciutto di cinta senese

Prosciutto di cinta senese

Amongst all the Italian cured hams perhaps the most delicious is the Prosciutto (cured ham). Some people discard the fat  from the slice of Prosciutto, this is totally the  wrong way to enjoy the meat as although it does have a little fat, this part of the slice is rich with flavour and serves to balance the salty flavour of the lean part. If you are concerned with calories better to eat one  less slice of prosciutto and to eat all of the slice of ham as it should be served and enjoyed rather than to discard the fat.

We at the Osteria di Donatella, the restaurant inside  Fattoria del Colle serve hand sliced pork and ham served with  Leone Rosso Doc Orcia red wine.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

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