September 27, 2018 - Food and wine, South of siena, Florence and surroundings, Siena and surroundings, Tuscany
Wild boar have been making a nuisance of themselves for vineyard owners in Tuscany of late, but those problems have been tackled in a style which is good news for food lovers.
The animals have been “causing chaos” in Tuscan vineyards, running wild among the vines in the hills between Florence and Siena. The boar can cause real problems for wine makers, as they devour low hanging fruit leaving vineyards with reduced crops from which to make wine.
However, local hunters have banded together to tackle the boar in a fashion which is not only helping the vineyards but also providing local restaurateurs with plenty of fantastic produce to use in their traditional Tuscan dishes.
Most authentic Tuscan restaurants in the region, whether in Florence, Lucca, Siena or any other Tuscan city or town, will have fantastic traditional cinghiale dishes on their menu, and lately there has been an even greater selection than usual thanks to the efforts of the hunters. Cinghiale, the Italian for wild boar, has long been a staple food in the region, though it isn’t one which has been eaten regularly since the 1960s. However, thanks to the explosion in the local wild boar population Tuscans and visitors have become accustomed to enjoying the rich flavour of wild boar much more often.
Tuscany is currently home to around 150,000 wild boar and their impact on agriculture, in particular vineyards, can be severe. While their presence is natural in some areas, like the natural hunting reserve of Fèlsina Berardenga to the south of the Chianti classico zone, they have roamed beyond the borders of those areas and have flourished – meaning locals have had to take action.
While the news may not initially sound like good news, it is in fact excellent news for tourists staying in villas in Tuscany because of the opportunities it provides.
Visitors to the area can enjoy a day hunting the real life counterparts of Pietro Tacca’s famous 17th-century Porcellino statue with experienced Tuscan hunters – something which is a must for any lover of the outdoors or country sports.
Animal lovers who don’t wish to hunt the animals can still enjoy an encounter with them on one of Tuscany’s natural reserves, observing them in their natural habitat from afar.
But by far and away the happiest knock on effect of the boar population’s growth is that all visitors can enjoy one of any number of delicious traditional regional cinghiale dishes. What could be more enjoyable than spending an evening on the terrace of a Tuscan restaurant, watching the sun set and enjoying a beautiful dish of wild boar stew infused with juniper? Tourists can savour the taste of a rich meat which has been cooked slowly so it is tender and unctuous, coupled with the delectable taste of local Chianti classic – the perfect accompaniment.
Imagine enjoying that experience, all the while knowing you’re playing a small part in helping to conserve and protect the local environment.