The Meats

Veal from the Piedmontese oxen (bue) that are bred all over the area is a basic ingredient of Piedmont cooking, particularly in the Province of Cuneo, and the village that represents it the best is Carrù. Every year thousands of merchants and gourmets meet there for the Fiera del Bue Grasso; the former to acquire the splendid heads of cattle, the latter to taste the bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) in the village restaurants and under the big tent organized by the local tourist office. The meat is firm and flavourful, but above all healthy. It is perfect for making brasato al Barolo (beef braised in Barolo wine) or a fresh salad of raw beef, not to mention such appetizers as vitello tonnato (sliced veal roast in tuna sauce), tepid beef tongue in a parsley green sauce or for a sampling of stewed tripe. The salsiccia di Bra (Bra sausage) is made from this beef and is the only sausage in Italy that contains no pork. It is excellent when eaten raw just a few hours after it is made and is also superb when quick-fried in a pan.

Pig breeding is also very prosperous in the province and the famous Cuneo raw ham is made from the meat. The cooked ham too is a succulent specialty still made at some of the village delicatessens and the pork roasted in wood burning ovens in Canale is also famous. The same can be said for the cooked salamis, lard with rosemary and cotechini (pork-rind sausages). There are also the so-called raw salamis of Cuneo. It is becoming more difficult to find the griva and the frissa however. They differ according to the pork fillings that are used, which can be made of the meat, the liver or the entrails wrapped in the white mesh of the caul and pan-fried. Pork is so profuse in the local cookery that the maxim "waste not want not" is as true as ever, and Cuneese cuisine is proud of its batsoà made from the feet, the oriot made out of the ears and snout, the headcheese obtained from the tongue and cheeks.

One Cuneese specialty combines both beef and pork and is called fritto misto (mixed fry). It is made from both the choicest parts of the animal and the more lowly (but more flavourful) such as brains, sweetbread, spinal cord, testicles, liver and so on. The dish also includes vegetables, semolina and apples, all fried.

Small gastronomic havens provide capons from Morozzo or Moretta before Christmas, Sambuco lamb in the spring, the young lamb from Langa at Easter and hens (the blond Piedmontese and the white Saluzzo). And of course there is the Borgo San Dalmazzo snail, fŕted each year in December during the Fiera Fredda.

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