“La nobiltà dell’animale”…The Nobility of the Animal (seconde parte)

By: tutticooks

May 17 2011

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Category: Uncategorized

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Aperture:f/2.8
Focal Length:8mm
ISO:200
Shutter:1/59 sec
Camera:DiMAGE G600

Last week, you may remember my writing about our visit to the cattle ranch and with the cowherd, Athos. 

Our next stop was the “Laboratorio” or the Bucher shop, where the Chianina are brought after slaughter.  It was impeccably clean, like a surgical suite.  It was there we met Eros, Athos twin brother, and the butcher.  At this point, I was searching for Porthos and that other guy from “The Three Musketeers”,  but they didn’t show!  😉

Eros shared the process of butchering, which, at the artisanal level is dwindling at home in the states.  At this point, let me share a few things with you.  First off, if you have any Italian blood in your veins, or if you are an honorary Italian, chances are you’ve enjoyed veal.  It’s delicious, I love it and for years it was a guilty pleasure.  LET ME DISSUADE YOU RIGHT HERE—if you love veal, and you know where your meat comes from, chances are good you are eating a fully-grown COW, and not one of the babies you see romping in the spring grass!  These dudes are 16 – 23 months old and there’s nothing baby about them!

Eros shared that he had two animals aging in the cooler on that day.  One was 342 kilos and one was *642* kilos.  Those are BIG animals!  For those of you scoring at home, that’s 753.98 lbs. and 1,415.36 lbs., respectively.  No kids here, kids!

After the animal is killed, the meat is hung in a process known as “La Frollatura”, which is a process of hanging the meat for 20 days before butchering.  This allows the muscles to break down and soften, an important process in the preparation of the Chianina.

It is then cut, measured and sold, with EACH animal bearing a certificate of authenticity and family lineage, which is required by Italian law for this particular type of beef.

Again, like his brother, Eros must go through a long and involved process to ensure that these animals are processed according to Italian law, which preserves the quality and reputation (and consistency) of the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. 

Do you know where your meat comes from?  Have you met with the rancher or the butcher?  What would it feel like to be able to do that on a regular basis?  Hmm…

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