Allevamento e alimentazione
Breeding and feeding: an ancestral, instinctive bond. We are in Noci in Valle D’Itria, where the art of the dry walls that divided the fields has been awarded UNESCO heritage site status. Here, our friend Saverio, assisted by his trusted farmer, breeds the Castagnolo pigs. They graze freely on the red land between the oak trees, free to move in an area that includes no more than 12 pigs per hectare. They are fed daily with cereals from crops grown using organic farming methods and ground exclusively in the Siciliani family mill: protein elements such as soy, supplemented with vitamins and chestnuts, a fruit available in large amounts, are added to the corn, wheat, barley. The barren earth, the withered shrubs, and the dry walls of the Val d’Itria are the setting for this simple quality which knows no genetic changes or growth accelerators.
the matter starts to take shape..
When the pig reaches an average weight of two tons, it is taken to the slaughterhouse in Paolo del Colle, a few kilometres from the breeding site.
The pork legs are transported to Emilia to an artisan workshop where master pork butchers skilfully process the “quarter” to obtain the streamlined cut typical of the areas of the Tuscan Emilian Apennines…
the “coating” is an ancient recipe, which differs for the amounts of its few and simple ingredients…
Chopped garlic, black peppercorns, wine from Sorbara grapes doc, all rigorously organic, are the ingredients which we combine with sea salt to make our “coating”. The large pork legs of the castagnolo are covered in this when the “salt is saturated” and lovingly massaged for 21 days.
a chain of talented hands…
The Zocca woods are home to the Mesini farm which supplies us with the flour made from certified organic chestnuts we use to prepare our pork fat. The mix is made by an artisan from Parma, Mr. Fontana, who blends the pork fat with the chestnut flour in a perfect balance, thanks to thirty years of experience. The warm hands of master smearers Stefano and Loris, perform the ritual slowly and expertly, smearing the pork leg with the pork fat and chestnut flour, preparing it for the long final curing phase…
the metamorphic technique
The curing process takes place in a dedicated room and separated from the rest of the conventional production activities, more precisely on the lower ground floor of the factory which faces onto the River Leo, in the Cimone Valleys. Here, the product cures slowly for at least four seasons, breathing the outdoor air that is filtered and distributed naturally inside the room by the treatment unit designed by our friend Stefano Remedi. There are no forced ventilation cycles, the natural rotation of months is followed; curing is unaware of the logics of commercial timing but it continues to reach the perfect micro-climatic balance which purists patiently await.
The product matures on a bed of well-dried chestnut leaves from the family chestnut grove; once analysed, they are distributed on the floor and from the bottom watch the product take shape. They are leaves gathered in autumn and left to dry in the open air, able to release a tannic fragrance because inserted in a saturated environment which develops their aroma. The curing stage varies according to the weight and the anatomical shape of the pork leg: the product is perfected from a minimum of 20 months to a maximum of 30 months. .. A caretaker is appointed as the only one to enter and guarantee the biosafety of that room, today this person’s name is Matteo! Only a glass pane allows to discover this small ecosystem in balance between air, earth and light.