Finocchiona is a cured meat that has such a reputation among its admirers everywhere that some of the historical evidence that brings it to mind have the sole purpose of satisfying … the historically greedy! There are several historic testimonies from as early as the fifteenth century to the preparation and use of sausages in the Tuscan cuisine.
In one text, attributed to a Tuscan author, entitled “The book of fifteenth century cuisine. Language text never printed so far“, the filling of pork or veal intestines with pork fat or other meat, with spices and odoriferous herbs is mentioned. The Finocchiona certainly falls among these sausages, which has a long history because in the Middle Ages fennel was used in place of pepper, at that time very expensive and rare. Anton Francesco Grazzini, a Florentine writer in the 1500s, in one of his poems spoke of the use of fennel in a type of sausage that was produced and consumed in Florence. In his textbook at the end of the nineteenth century, Sir Giuseppe Lancia recognised that in Italy each region, indeed every province, had its own and special type of cold cut and Florence had the mortadella finocchiata. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are especially rich in testimonies of the “Finocchiona”, to name just a few remember its presence in the vocabulary of the spoken language, Rigutini and Fanfani 1875, and in the Dictionary of the Accademici della Crusca, 1889 edition.
The publication “Atlante dei Prodotti Tipici: I Salumi” (Atlas of Traditional Products: Cured Meats) by INSOR (2002) devotes a data sheet to the Finocchiona and the publication “Alla ricerca del pane perduto” (In search of lost bread) (1989) refers to this extraordinary product too.
Finocchiona is characterised by the original choice of adding to quality meat, from meat cuts of heavy Italian pigs, or the Cinta Senese, other Tuscan specialty, fennel that is featured in many regional recipes, and which is part of the endemic Tuscan flora, from the coast up to the sub-mountainous regions, often present at the foot of the dry-stone walls and at the foot of country “lanes”. The skilful hands and craftsmanship, make a difference, even when wine is used in the mix of the historical method, a product for which Tuscany is world famous.
Finocchiona stands out through the unmistakable aroma of fennel used in seed and/or flower form in the mix (hence the name “Finocchiona”) and through the local and expert workmanship that gives the slice a particular softness, which tends to crumble. Unavoidable in the Tuscan cold cuts appetizer, and accompanied by a slice of Tuscan bread “sciocco” (unsalted) and a good red wine.
The Finocchiona production area includes the entire Tuscan continental territory, excluding the islands, which is the area in which the production of this typical cold cut has consolidated over time.
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