A wonderful product of ancient origin.
Cinta Senese is a hardy breed of pig, which was probably already bred in Roman times. Various works of art have provided evidence of their ancient existence including Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s ‘Effects of Good Government’ in the Palazzo Comunale in Siena and the fresco cycle of the ‘Cappella di Casanuova di Ama’ in Gaiole in Chianti.
Cinta Senese pigs originated in the area of Montemaggio, in the Montagnola Senese, where the forests rich in oaks and therefore acorns are the ideal habitat for this breed. It later spread to the Chianti region and throughout Tuscany.
The meat, cured meats and fat of this pig significantly contributed to the improvement of the population’s living conditions, which is why specimens of the Cinta senese can even be found depicted in medical manuals dating back to the 14th century.
Ointments and balms were also made from the fat of this animal.
The extensive breeding of Cinta Senese pigs has survived to the present day, and this demonstrates and reinforces the evidence of the ancient tradition of pig breeding in the Sienese area. This has enabled the breeders part of the Cinta Senese consortium of protection to obtain the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
The Cinta Senese PDO breed is characterised by its medium size and black colour with a characteristic white band (the famous ‘cintura’) around its chest and shoulders. The meat is distinguished by a low loss of liquid when cooked. In the preparation of cured meats and sausages, the final products stand out from others because the Cinta Senese is particularly tasty, tender, succulent, bright pink or red in colour and has organoleptic peculiarities that make these products a true delicacy of Sienese tradition.
At present, the geographical area of production of Cinta Senese PDO meat encompasses the administrative territory of the Tuscan region up to an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level beyond which environmental conditions are unfavourable to farming.
The Consortium label is placed on all processed products accompanied by the words ‘product obtained from Cinta Senese PDO meat’ and the sequential numbering added serves as a traceability tool.
The meat of the Cinta Senese PDO is used in a wide range of dishes from pasta sauces to roasts, but its most prevalent use is in traditional Tuscan charcuterie such as prosciutto, capocollo, salami, rigatino and guanciale.