A land of gentle and sinuous hills, lush valleys and unspoiled nature, dotted with ancient villages of medieval or even Etruscan origin. The Valdichiana Senese fully represents Tuscan style, combining beauty and ancient traditions. Tuscany is rich in typical flavors and tastes, which have always identified its territories: the wines in the first place, but also cheeses, cured meats and flours. The region's food and wine offer is considerably enriched by the products that the generous lands of the Valdichiana offer, excellent in quantity but above all in quality. In the Valdichiana Senese you can count several products representative of the territory, but there is one that most of all defines its identity: it is the white giant, the Chianina, the native breed of cattle of these lands.
The history of this area of Tuscany is closely linked to that of the majestic bovine, which has helped to reclaim the area and make it particularly productive. The Chianina, endowed with an imposing tonnage that earned it the title of largest bovine in the world, was in fact employed as a real workforce in the days of the Mezzadria. Every agricultural product coming from these lands has been obtained, for centuries, thanks to the driving force of the Chianina, which has therefore played an essential role in the agricultural and economic progress of the Valdichiana Senese.
The unmistakable and intense taste of Chianina is combined with unparalleled nutritional values. This beef variety is characterized by a high protein content, low cholesterol content and low calorie intake. The endocrine aspect that characterizes this animal involves the formation of a lean mass, much richer in iron than white meat.
There are many recipes and typical dishes of the area that see Chianina as the protagonist. Numerous cuts of this animal can be used in the kitchen: from broths and poor traditional dishes, such as tongue or tripe, to tasty and tasty roasts, sliced and gourmet tartare, which instead enhance the more refined profiles of this meat. Moreover, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, famous all over the world, comes from the Chianina raised in these lands. To appreciate the authentic taste of this meat, here are some of the best restaurants in the Valdichiana Senese that put the Chianina at the center of their culinary proposal, as reported by Trip Advisor:
- L'Altro Cantuccio, Montepulciano (Via delle Cantine,1). For info and booking: 0578 758364 or visit the website
- Osteria del Borgo, Montepulciano (Via Ricci, 5). For info and booking: 0578 716799 or visit the website
- Il Fornacino Osteria, Sinalunga (Via Antonio Gramsci, 25). For info and booking: 0577 573648 or visit the website
- Santorotto, Sinalunga (Via Trento, 173). For info and booking: 0577 678608 or visit the website
- Ristorante da Forcillo, Sinalunga (Viale Antonio Gramsci, 7). For info and booking: 0577 630102 or visit the website
- BBQ Chianina Station, Chianciano Terme (Largo Amiata 8/10). For info and booking: 0578 30653 or visit the website
- Da Nilo, Cetona (Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 31/34). For info and booking: 0578 239040 or visit the website
- Taverna del Patriarca, Chiusi (SS 146, Loc. Querce al Pino). For info and booking: 0578 274407 or visit the website
- Il Grillo è Buoncantore, Chiusi (Piazza XX Settembre, 10). For info and booking: 0578 20112 or visit the website
- Il Conte Matto, Trequanda (Via Taverne, 40). For info and booking: 0577 662079 or visit the website
There are many opportunities to get to know Chianina in its natural habitat, in the places where it is born, it feeds and grows. Whether you want to spend a proper holiday in Tuscany or you only have one day at your disposal, there are many opportunities to explore the Valdichiana Senese with the common thread of Chianina meat. For a short stop, you can visit Chianina calf farms and taste the meat of the best producers in the area, from which not only the real Bistecca alla Fiorentina is obtained, but also many other typical products of the Valdichiana. If, on the other hand, you want to dedicate an entire trip out of town to discover the eno-gastronomic heritage of this fascinating area of Tuscany, perhaps accompanying Chianina-based products with local wines and cheeses, treat yourself to a trip on the Strada del Vino Nobile e dei Sapori della Valdichiana Senese, a stay to discover the top 3 flavors of the Valdichiana or an autumn holiday, to enjoy the landscapes of the Valdichiana in their most authentic atmosphere, that of the harvest.
For the more athletic, what better way to get in touch with the Chianina than a bike ride through the lush hills on which this breed grazes? The cycling route of the White Giant allows you to experience all the beauty of the Valdichiana, on the trail of the Chianina. Along the way it is possible to visit the farms of the most famous bovine breed in the world and taste the real IGP meat, appreciating the territorial peculiarities that characterize the villages and localities along the 313 km of the route.
Knowledge of the Chianina necessarily implicates dialogue with local farmers, who preserve the quality of the meat and its nutritional values by taking care of the animals according to the standards set by the Consorzio di Tutela Vitellone Bianco dell’Appennino Centrale IGP. Visit the producers of the Valdichiana Senese and discover how farming can be respectful of the Chianina and the environment:
- Società Agricola San Giobbe, Chiusi (Loc. Passo alla Querce). For info, visit the website
- Tenuta La Fratta, Sinalunga (Loc. La Fratta, 5). For info, visit the website
- Azienda Agricola Furlani Valerio, Montepulciano (Via San Savino, 5). For info, visit the website
- Società Agricola Fierli, Sinalunga (Via Caselle Alte 99/B). For info, visit the website
- Azienda Agricola Trequanda, Trequanda (Loc. Casino). For info, visit the website
- Società Agricola Fratelli Iacomini, Cetona (Loc. Lame di Sopra). For info, visit the website
It is impossible to talk about the Chianina without referring to the reality from which this animal comes. The past and future of the Valdichiana are inextricably linked to the white giant, which, in addition to being a gastronomic excellence, also offers numerous opportunities for aggregation and discovery of the territory.
The oldest event dedicated to the product is "La Valle del Gigante Bianco", which takes place every year in Bettolle, the historical homeland of Chianina, between the end of May and the beginning of June. During the days of the event, conferences, round tables, photographic exhibitions, recreational activities, folklore evenings, food and wine tastings and typical Chianina meat dinners are held every evening.
This year an event not to be missed is added to the calendar: from the 23rd to the 30th September, the Settimana della Chianina, to celebrate the white giant with talks, bike rides and dinners in the restaurants of the Valdichiana. An opportunity for dialogue and discussion, to discuss the impact of the majestic bovine on this area of Tuscany, from a perspective of sustainability and respect for the environment. It will be an event dedicated to the discovery of meat and a territory, the Valdichiana, where the enchantment of nature is perfectly combined with human ingenuity.