Renowned for the quality of its meat, its strength and voracity, Italian wild boar or "cinghiale" is a combination of the region’s native Sus Scrofa and the wild boar introduced from Eastern Europe. Due to the absence of natural predators, the number of wild boars has risen and risen over the past few years.
Today there are about 150.000 wild boars in Tuscany, and some of them have been causing many damages to agriculture (a 50 kg boar needs around 4,000-4,500 calories per day*). It may weigh from 50 to 180 kg and eats bulbs, tubers, roots, acorns, wheat, corn, eggs, birds, small rodents... almost everything. Its average lifespan is 15-20 years and every year females can give birth to anywhere from 4 to 8 puppies.
Boars are highly widespread throughout the region, especially in the Maremma, where it has became a local symbol. In Tuscany, wild boar hunting is both a tradition and a passion. The Hunting season changes depending on the area and runs from October to late January, only in areas and allowed days.
With pasta or in a stew, there are countless Tuscan specialties made with wild boar and you can taste them all at many food festivals (sagre del cinghiale), maybe accompanied by some other local delicacies, such as "tortelli". Here are some of the most important events for "cinghiali" fans:
The tradition of cooking wild boar was born in the Maremma and later spread into other areas of Tuscany. For those who want to bring a very Tuscan taste to the table, here are two recipes to try this season:
1 kg wild boar, 200 g onions, 100 g celery, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berry, a half glass of wine, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli, meat stock, 300 g of peeled tomatoes
If you want to prepare a wild boar pasta topping, follow the same procedure for making the wild boar sauce. Once the meat is cooked, chop it finely and continue cooking. The perfect kind of pasta for this sauce is wide egg-based pasta, such as the very Tuscan Pappardelle.
Recipes source: Consorzio Vino Chianti, Ricette Toscane