Finocchiona PGI is a charcuterie product prepared with pigs meat from the traditional Italian Large White, Landrace and Duroc breeds, characterised by an aroma of fennel, the seeds and/or flowers of which are added to the mince. Finocchiona PGI can also be produced exclusively with meat from Cinta Senese PDO.
The pork cuts selected for the production of Finocchiona PGI are: boneless and defatted shoulder, ham trimmings, rump, collar, lean belly and collar, coppa, belly and flank. Salt, ground pepper, peppercorns, garlic, fennel seeds and/or flowers are added to the cuts. The seasoned pig meat is then diced and minced in a meat grinder. The mince is stuffed into natural or artificial casings, which are then tied with twine or covered in netting made from natural materials. The sausage must not weigh less than 0.5 kg. The product is then dried – a stage during which the dehydration process is more pronounced - at a temperature ranging between 12 and 25°C. The sausage is then cured at a temperature between 11 and 18°C, with a relative humidity of between 65 and 90%, for a period that varies, based on weight, from 15 to 45 days.
Appearance and Flavour
Finocchiona PGI has a cylindrical shape and smooth texture. The fat and lean parts, medium-large grain, blend into each other and the fat particles are distributed in such a way that they encompass the muscular parts, rendering the product soft even after long periods of curing. The colour varies from the deep red of the lean meat, to the white/pinkish-white of the fatty parts, with possible evidence of fennel seeds and flowers. It has a fresh and appetizing flavour, never acidic, with a characteristic aroma of fennel and a slight hint of garlic.
The production area for Finocchiona PGI is within the entire territory of the Tuscany region, excluding the islands, where the entire processing cycle, including slicing and packaging, must take place.
Finocchiona PGI is inextricably linked to Tuscany. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, when fennel seeds, which were easily found in the fields, were used as a substitute for the rarer and more expensive pepper. Already well-known and appreciated in Fifteenth century Tuscany, both by the general population and in aristocratic circles, it is has been suggested that even Machiavelli was particularly fond of this cold cut. Many historical references to the use of the term “Finocchiona” (in Italian fennel is finocchio) can be found in nineteenth and twentieth century works: in 1875 it was cited in Vocabolario della lingua parlata by Rigutini and Fanfani, and in the Dizionario Pirro Giacchi, published in 1878. Another reference can be found in the Dizionario Enciclopedico Italiano, published in 1956 by the encyclopaedia publishing house founded by Giovanni Treccani, where Finocchiona is defined as “Salume tipico toscano” (typical Tuscan charcuterie product).
Finocchiona PGI should be kept in a cool place or in the refrigerator, with the cut end covered with a cloth to maintain the fresh and soft characteristics of the product. Finocchiona PGI is traditionally eaten with unsalted Tuscan bread, which enhances the aroma of fennel, but it is also excellent with focaccia bread and salty flat bread, accompanied by cooked vegetables or vegetables preserved in oil and Tuscan pecorino cheese. It pairs perfectly with the local red wines, leaving a fresh sensation and unmistakable aromas on the palate.
The product is only marketed as Finocchiona PGI. It is sold whole, in various sizes anything upwards of 350 g, in pieces or packaged, either in small vacuum-packed pieces or pre-sliced in protective atmosphere packaging.
Finocchiona PGI is characterized by the unmistakable and pronounced aroma of the fennel seeds and/or flowers used in the mince, from which the name “Finocchiona” derives, and for the expert processing that ensures the exceptional softness of each slice.