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The cuisine of Tuscany is full of traditional recipes that are known throughout the world. One of the highlights of Tuscan cuisine are the assortment of cured meats prepared throughout the region.
Mainly pork based, the best cured meats will have been carefully selected and hand-crafted. You'll find them on appetizer platters, stuffed into pasta and served alongside bread and grilled vegetables.
Two quintessential cured meats that you can't leave Tuscany without tasting are finocchiona and lardo di colonnata.
Finocchiona is a type of salami pleasantly laced with wild fennel, black pepper, garlic and red wine. The spices don't overpower all, instead they accentuate the flavor of the meat. Finocchiona, as with all Tuscan cured meats, is best enjoyed with some bread and a glass of red wine.
Lardo di colonnata is not a 'meat' at all, it is actually an extremely aromatic and flavorful lard that has been cured with a variety of spices. Although the word lard may raise some eyebrows, lardo di colonnata is not like anything you can imagine.
It is made in the town of Colonnata and prepared with spices that may include cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, sage and black pepper. Afterwards, it is cured in marble quarries and caves in the nearby town of Carrara. Just one bite and you'll feel it melt across your tongue like the best of butters. It is an amazing cold cut that pairs best a top warm bread or warm deep-fried dough.
Another cured meat worth mentioning is Tuscan PDO Ham. The letters PDO refer to the 'protected denominatin of origin,' which alludes to the fact that this ham is made only in Tuscany from pigs bred in the region. The ham is cured in sea salt and a variety of aromatic herbs.
For more information on Tuscan cured meats, we recommend you check out Tuscanycious, a blog by Flavia Cori. She does a great job of detailing the many cold cuts of the region.
For purchasing any of these delicacies, visit Vivere Toscana online store.