Podere dell’Agave – San Vincenzo (LI), Strada San Bartolo, 19 – 0565.703171 – info@poderelagave.com

The Cinta Senese

The Cinta Senese is an ancient race, bred by the Etruscans and then in the Middle Ages. In the more recent past – as a result of its slow growth (not butchered before two years of age) – faster growing breeds were favoured.
The animals are distinguished by a wide ‘belt’ – a white sash that goes round the withers, the chest, shoulders and front legs. The rest of the coat of short, thin bristles is slate-grey. It has a sharp face, its ears are small and fall over the eyes, and has sturdy bones and a sloping rump.

Diet based on natural products

The feed of the Cinta Senese pigs is based on a diet of products from the woods, wild and garden herbs, tubers and root vegetables. This is then mixed with corn, barley and wheat. Looking for food in the woods and meadows ensures the meat has a unique flavour and means that the pigs fatten up at a slow pace allowing the build up of fat in the muscle fibres.

The result

The meat has a unique texture, succulence and savoury flavour, and is very red and tasty. The salumi have greater dietary qualities because of the higher concentration of unsaturated fatty acids (in particular, omega 3 and omega 6) and oleic acid. The fatty part is less consistent and more fluid, and very pleasant to the palate. The fluidity allows a more rapid spread of the flavourings used in seasoning it. The lard is very rich in oleic acid and fatty acids.

The products on sale

The “Coppa”: made with the “capocollo”, prepared with salt and pepper and packed into a sausage skin of natural intestines. It is seasoned for at least 6/8 months. It lets you get a taste of the good fat from Cinta Senese pigs.

Before slicing it keep it soaked in water and wine for 24 hours to soften it up and make it easier to remove the skin and grease the cut with a knob of butter. Keep it in a cool, slightly airy place. If you buy it vacuum-sealed let it breathe before using it.

The “Culatello”: to create the King of Salumi you need pigs of at least 200 kg so 2 years of age at the youngest. It’s amazing because of its sweetness and tenderness, its redolent, delicate flavour which has an intense, individual scent. In Cinta “culatello” the marbling effect is particularly remarkable in that the fat is spread nicely in the strips of muscle.

We put only the best part of the pig’s haunch in its bladder, along with salt and pepper and then it’s left to age. It’s produced only in the cold, foggy months and it’s slowly aged for a minimum of 15 months.

Before slicing it keep it soaked in water and wine for 24 hours to soften it up and make it easier to remove the skin and grease the cut with a knob of butter. Keep it in a cool, slightly airy place. If you buy it vacuum-sealed let it breathe before using it.

The “Fiocco (“flake”) di culatello”: this is produced with the smallest muscular part of the pig’s back legs, without any rind or bone. It is salted and covered with the natural bladder. The ageing process takes place in the “culatello” cellars. It’s smaller than “culatello” and it’s easier to handle.

Before slicing it keep it soaked in water and wine for 24 hours to soften it up and make it easier to remove the skin and grease the cut with a knob of butter. Keep it in a cool, slightly airy place. If you buy it vacuum-sealed let it breathe before using it.

The bacon and lard (“Pancetta and Lardo”): the semi-free range bred pork really makes a difference with these two products. In fact, the fatty part is completely different from the large white pigs – it’s much oilier, with unsaturated fats rich in omega 3 and omega 6. The more fluid fat permits a better spread of the seasoning. Keep it in the fridge under clingfilm but vacuum-sealed is better. The lard is aged in marble bowls. Pork, salt, pepper and spices. Try and leave our lard and the large white pig’s at room temperature: ours melts quickly while the other remains unchanged.

“Prosciutto” made with Cinta pigs of at least 180 Kg. The first phase of the ageing process (around 12 months) is done in very dry cellars and then moves on to the “culatello” cellars where it has to stay for another 12 months to age and to improve even further. We use only the pig’s thigh and salt and pepper.

Keep it in a cool, slightly airy place. If you buy it vacuum-sealed let it breathe before using it.

The “Salame”: Made according to the artisan tradition, packed into a sausage skin of fatty intestines. After it has been aged for 60 days it is tender and irresistible and towards 80 days it becomes even more so, with the characteristic “drip”. Pork, salt, pepper, wine, garlic. Preservative: Potassium nitrate.

It should be kept for a couple of weeks in a cool and slightly damp place. Once it’s been sliced it should be kept for several days in the fridge covering the surface of the cut with clingfilm.

The “Spalla”: This needs a lengthy ageing process (15 months) and gets slightly salted, packed into the natural bladder and tied up by hand. It more or less has the same shape as the “Fiocco di Culatello”, and is similarly easier to handle.

Before slicing it keep it soaked in water and wine for 24 hours to soften it up and make it easier to remove the skin and grease the cut with a knob of butter. Keep it in a cool, slightly airy place. If you buy it vacuum-sealed let it breathe before using it.

The “Strolghino di Culatello”: this is a small, fresh salame (on average it weighs 200/300 g). The authentic version is only produced in Bassa Parmense by Culatello producers. It’s a fresh “salume” without any preservatives but it isn’t aged either and so its lifespan is less than two months. Its production then runs in parallel with that of the “Culatello”, and in fact it’s made with trimmings from the “Culatello” and flavoured with whole pepper corns, wine, salt and crushed garlic (which is not ground into the paste but just soaked in the wine). It’s packed into a natural sausage skin and then aged for ten days or so (at first in cold storage and then in the “Culatello” cellar). The “Strolghino” is the “Culatello’s” litmus test. If the “Strolghino” is excellent then the “Culatello” will be too …. which we’ll taste at least two years later though… We really like “Strolghino” with fizz.

It should be kept for a couple of weeks in a cool and slightly damp place. Once it’s been sliced it should be kept for several days in the fridge covering the surface of the cut with clingfilm.