According to a legend, people of Florence used to buy Chianti wine from farms. They were first welcomed by farmers with bread and Finocchiona and only after a few bites would they taste wine from the barrel. The flavors and spices of Finocchiona had an anesthetic function on taste buds, impairing their taste perception: as a result, even less valuable wines could taste good at the moment. This story helps us better understand the unique flavor of this “excellence of Tuscany” and its historical tradition, especially the link between the region and the spread of Finocchiona amongst poorer classes as well as richer ones. Even Machiavelli was a big fan of Finocchiona.
Nowadays, Finocchiona gained in popularity and even received the European award for Protected Geographical Indication. The horizon of an economic growth especially for an industrialized production focused on quality. Butchers, artisans and companies who produce Finocchiona combine innovation with the ancient practice of pig breeding and pork meat processing.
What characteristics make Finocchiona so unique?
First, the presence of fennel, used in the form of seeds or flowers in the dough, creates an unmistakable flavor and texture, which is soft and almost crumbles when cut. The mixture is made from non-frozen pork meat selected from specific cuts. The meat is then passed through the mincer and mixed with other ingredients, including the characteristic fennel seeds and fennel flowers, salt, pepper and garlic. The numbers show an annual production of 1’200’000kg of Finocchiona PGI; over a million kilograms of meat; 4’200kg of fennel used in the form of seeds and/or flowers; 4’200kg of pepper; 900kg of garlic and over 36’000kg of salt. After production, the dough is bagged, tied and ready to start the drying and aging process. This is an important step, which can last between 15 and 45 days depending on the weight at the time of bagging. It’s a crucial step which enables the maturation of Finocchiona’s characteristic aroma as well as maintaining the soft consistency.
Today, the “Consorzio di Tutela della Finocchiona” comprises 46 companies, and others are waiting to be registered in it. The (yearly?) production of Finnocchiona is estimated at over 1 million kilograms for a production value of 9 million Euros and a sales revenue of 17 million Euros. Exports range from 10% to 15% of total sales and are estimated between € 900’000 and € 1’350’000.- The main importing countries are Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.