Cinta Senese PDO is the fresh meat obtained from pigs belonging to the Cinta Senese breed, born, reared and slaughtered in the Tuscany region.
The animals must be identified with an identification code attached to the ear, in the form of a button, within 45 days from birth. They must be raised with a free range or semi-intensive system from when they are four months old, and must live on fenced or non-fenced pieces of land, with eventual cover for the night and/or in case of unfavourable weather conditions. The maximum number of animals is calculated at 1.500 kg of live weight per hectare. The food supply mainly originates from wood pasture and/or open ground sown with fodder and cereals. Slaughtering must take place when the animals are at least 12 months old and the carcass must be fire-branded on the following parts: ham, loin, under belly, shoulder, and gullet. The parts destined for consumption must also have the product mark. The Protection Consortium has also developed an internal product specification for the processing of prosciutto, capocollo, salami and sausage made with Cinta Senese PDO, which consortium members must adhere to in order to sell these products with the specific distinctive mark.
Appearance and Flavour
Cinta Senese PDO has a red to bright red colour and a firm consistency. The meat is slightly fatty, tender and succulent, with an aroma of fresh meat. It is characterised by the reduced expulsion of juices during cooking.
The production area of Cinta Senese PDO is within the administrative territory of the Tuscany region, which reaches a maximum altitude of 1.200 m.a.s.l.
Cinta Senese is the progenitor of all Tuscan pigs. Already reared by the Etruscans, it was of great help to farmers during the plague and famine of the Middle Ages. The famous Allegory of Good and Bad Government fresco by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1340), in the Town Hall of Siena, depicts Cinta Senese pigs. There is evidence of this pig’s meat being used throughout the ages: one example is Bartolomeo Benvoglienti’s citation in the Trattato de l’origine et accrescimenti de la Città di Siena (1571), where he talks about the use of meat in butchering and its transformation into traditional charcuterie products from the terroir of origin. Free range pigs raised on wood pastures became so important for the economy at the time, that at the end of the XVII century those who did not own woodland areas were forced to rent land, on which they had to pay the ghiandiatico, a tax on the acorns collected or eaten by the drifts, or give a decima porcorum: a tenth of the pork that they obtained given to the landlord.
Cinta Senese PDO, as with all fresh meats, can be conserved in the fridge for a short period of time, wrapped in cling film. The great versatility of this meat makes it ideal for grilling, frying, spit-roasting or oven roasting. It is also perfect for producing charcuterie products such as ham, fresh sausage and Tuscan buristo (black pudding), as well as brawn, capocollo and bacon. It should be paired with red wine.
The product is marketed as Cinta Senese PDO. It is avilable year-round and it is sold fresh in different cuts. It is also available as a transformed product (recognisable by the specific seal): ham, capocollo, salami and sausage, produced exclusively with Cinta Senese PDO meat.
The meat of Cinta Senese PDO is characterised by the presence of high levels of marbling, that is, with various amounts of intramuscular fat; pasture-reared pigs have a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids due to the high content of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids fatty (Omega 3). The products are characterised by the "smooth, round" taste on the palate, thanks to the rapid diffusion of the aromas that are used.