The Chianina cattle produce the queen of steaks in the Province of Arezzo in Italy, and important inItalian food. They are found mainly in the Valdichiana of Tuscany, and the Chianina beef steak is known throughout Italy as Bistecca Fiorentina and the quality and the distinctive taste of this meat is now sought after cattle breed throughout the world.
History of the Chianina Cattle
The Chianina cattle has been around for more than 2000 years and well known during the Etruscan times.
The Romans used the Chianina during triumphant parades and in sacrifices to pagan gods. We know this from the bas relief on the Arch of Titus, in Rome's Imperial forum.
In more recent times this cattle breed was used as a working animal in the fields. After World War II and the beginning of the modernization of agriculture the Chianina cattle breed became less important to farmers as modern machinery replaced them. As a result, people stopped breeding them on a large scale to the point that the Chianina cattle almost became extinct.
Today in many other provinces besides Arezzo, including Siena, Perugia, Pisa and Rieti the breeding of the Chiana is back on track and once again an icon for the food industry.
Where to buy Chianina Beef in Arezzo
Arezzo is one of my favorite cities, not just because it is a mere 26 km from where we have our farm, but because of its wonderful architecture, the number of festivals throughout the year such as theJousting of the Saracens, and also because of its monthly antique fair. There is also a great cheese shop in Arezzo, and you will smell it before you find it, but I digress.
If you are looking for a good butchery in Arezzo for some luscious Chianina steaks pop in to Marcelleria Antonio Tonioni on Via Margaritone. This is an excellent local butcher who really knows his meat, and is happy to give you some advice on recipes for your meat cuts and the best ways to cook them.
A Simple Chianina Italian Beef Recipe
Because of the fabulous taste of this meat, it is best cooked briefly and without strong flavors to mask the beef. In Italy meat is served very blue, and this is how it should be cooked. However, if you don't like it blue, then ask for it "Ben Cotto" which means well cooked.
Slice the beef thinly, tagliata style, sprinkle with fresh rosemary, sea salt and black pepper. Cook briefly over hot coals.
Plate up and sprinkle over boiling olive oil, green peppercorns, and rosemary. Serve.
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