Tuscany is appreciated by tourists from all over the world for the breathtaking landscapes and the atmosphere that you breathe there but also for the good food and its typical products, among which the Finocchiona IGP stands out, a truly delicious cured sausage that is a source of pride all Chianti. What makes this preparation unique? Without doubt its main ingredient, fennel seeds and / or flowers (from which the name “finocchiona” derives), added together with pepper, salt, garlic and red wine, to a mixture of the best pork. It owes its quality to the particular taste and skilful processing, which has remained substantially unchanged compared to the original one, which gives the slice a particular softness.
It goes very well with Tuscan bread, which, prepared without salt, allows you to fully appreciate the aroma of fennel, but is also excellent with focaccia and flatbreads. Thanks to its intense flavor it can also be used as an ingredient for the preparation of original and delicious recipes such as potato tortelli with finocchiona ragù or succulent egg noodles with finocchiona and artichoke cream. With what to accompany the finocchiona? Obviously with a good glass of Chianti. Just along the via Chiantigiana, the two municipalities of Campi Bisenzio and Greve in Chianti compete for its paternity.
In addition to a unique flavor, this salami also boasts an ancient history. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, when the ingenious Tuscan butchers, to make up for the use of the rarer and more expensive pepper, decided to add fennel seeds to the mixture, which were easier to find in the fields and suitable for covering the possible deterioration of the meat. The farmers exploited the unmistakable and marked aroma of finocchiona also to sell less valuable and poor quality wines. This is how a popular saying goes in Chianti: “Just as skilled hairdressers are capable of making even the ugliest woman look attractive, so the aroma of finocchiona is capable of camouflaging the flavor of even the most undrinkable wine“. From this shrewd custom comes the use of the term “fooling” as a synonym for deception and deceit against someone.
It is said that the famous writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who was a great gourmet, was particularly fond of this delicious salami, which seemed to have exciting reactions to him. The use of the term finocchiona is also found in numerous historical testimonies between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: it is mentioned in 1875 in the Vocabulary of the spoken language of Rigutini and Fanfani and in 1878 in the Dictionary of the Florentine Vernacle by Pirro Giacchi. In modern times, further recognition can be found in the Treccani Italian Encyclopedic Dictionary of 1956, where it is defined as “typical Tuscan salami”.
Photo © Consorzio Finocchiona IGP