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The tuna from Chianti

Chianti is not only beautiful landscapes, prestigious historical architecture, and culture, but also a must for every gourmet. One of the unforgettable components of a holiday in Chianti is the cuisine: simple, linked to tradition and to the land that generates its ingredients, and also rich in flavors. In addition to wine and extra virgin olive oil, there are many delicious specialties that the area offers. And among these, one of the tastiest and most appreciated is the Chianti tuna.

At this point, you are probably wondering: do they also have tuna in Chianti? Yes, the sea is far away and yet it exists. It is a recipe born in the Chianti hills which, despite the name, is prepared with pork, white wine, spices, herbs, and olive oil. Appearance is deceiving. It is so called because in look and texture it closely resembles tuna in oil. It is obtained by boiling pieces of pork in white wine with herbs and spices for several hours. And once cooked, it is placed in glass jars and covered with abundant extra virgin olive oil (or in vacuum-sealed bags). How to eat Chianti tuna? It is excellent with cherry tomatoes and capers, with a bed of cannellini beans, with chickpeas, with onion but also simply on its own.

Its origins are very ancient. The recipe was born in times of poor well-being, when not throwing anything away was essential to survival. With the arrival of summer, young pigs, or piglets, became ill easily and the farmers were forced to slaughter them. Without any refrigerators and freezers, in order not to waste the meat, they cooked it in wine and put it in oil. So, it was kept until winter. The recipe, widespread until the end of the 1950s, mysteriously was forgotten.

But in recent times, thanks to the stories of an elderly man about this type of preparation, the recipe has been rediscovered and relaunched by Dario Cecchini, “the most famous butcher in the world” as defined by the New York Times, who works in the historic family butcher in Panzano in Chianti, where it carries on a 250-year-old tradition. Netflix has even dedicated an episode of the well-known documentary Chef’s Table to him.

Photo © Cookist

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