The scanty number of pigs belonging to the prestigious Cinta Senese race, which were facing the risk of extinction, have now become a few hundreds and currently live semi-wild in the woods of Massanera, feeding on acorns, wild tubers, roots and truffles.
All hams and sausages are made following traditional Tuscan methods and in accordance with current EU regulations.
The selection of products ranges from delicious piglets for spit roasting to tasty cheeks, hams, “capocollo”, air-dried entrecote, salami, “finocchiona”, bacon, pork meat and aromatic herbs.
The origins of cinta senese
The origins of the “Cinta Senese” race or of the so-called black pigs with a white strip running from the withers down to the front legs, goes back centuries. For centuries these pigs have been considered an affordable source of proteins by generations of Tuscan farmers. These very rural animals, which have always been bred semi-wild, almost exclusively feed on the plants and fruits that can be found in woods, and did not therefore represent a burden for the meager economies of the farmers.
In the ’50s, the race was almost forgotten and reduced to a scanty number of animals, due to the fact that other races were far easier to breed and “inflate” with special fodder. It was reintroduced on the market only a few years ago by a group of passionate Tuscan farmers, who also formed an association, “Compagnia della Cinta”, and later a syndicate with the same name, that has its headquarters in the Farm of Massanera at Chiesanuova di San Casciano Val di Pesa.
Because of its wild lifestyle, this race of pigs grows far more slowly as compared to those bred in farms. Its meat is however tastier and its fat literally melts in your mouth, allowing you to taste the true aroma of the leaner parts, which is difficult to find in animal fats and that sometimes contains vague notes of the wood fruits and plants on which these animals feed.
The “Cinta” pigs, like other animals of the same kind, are used in their entirety. The “soppressata” or “soprassata”, made by boiling the pig’s head, is absolutely delicious like bacon rind, salami, finocchiona and sbriciolona, which are all produced by mixing different parts of the pig. The enormous difference as compared to equivalent products produced from farm-bred pigs lies however in the purest parts, i.e. in the ham, shoulder, lard, bacon, cheek, capocollo and filet or “lonzino”.
“Compagnia della Cinta” and the syndicate have been selling these delicacies for several years and now guarantee their quality through a proprietary brand.