Nardi farm and butcher’s shop

by admin on 24/09/2018

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This company was founded by the father of Mr. Nardi in 1952. It was a great surprise to find a squeaky clean butcher’s shop with a large variety of meat products in a small town like Pescia Romana.

An abundance and variety of meat products in the glass counters and a wide variety of hams suspended from the ceiling. All the products were well lit such that any defect would be immediately visible.

Some of the products avaialble at this shop include, but is not limited to, the following:
⦁ rib-eye steak of heifer (costata di manzetta)
⦁ boiled heifer meat (bollito di manzetta)
⦁ straccetti of heifer (stracceti di manza)
⦁ braised veal (osso buco)
⦁ rond steak (girello)
⦁ bacon
⦁ pork sausages with salt and pepper
⦁ tagliatella of heifer consisting of heifer meat, paté of lard from Maremma, salt, pepper and natural flavours
⦁ meatballs of ground heifer meat with salt, pepper, garlic, potatoes, parsley, egg and bread crumbs
⦁ ham
⦁ meat of wild boar

After having showed us the workshop inside the shop, Mr. Nardi kindly showed us the basement where various cooling rooms were full of pork thighs, hams and sausages suspended from the ceiling.

In order to make a ham from pork, one has to follow a rigid procedure and the following points give a general idea of what’s required:

⦁ Isolation: select some pigs, which are suited to being slaughtered, given their health, weight, gender and age.
⦁ Cooling: the thigh has to stay for 24 hours in a refrigerated cell around 0°C.
⦁ Trimming: remove parts of the fat and the pork rind in order to make a round form of the thigh.
⦁ Salting: put humid salt on the parts of the pork rind, while the lean parts should be covered with dry salt. Next, put    the thigh in a cool cell with a temperature of 4°C and about 80% relative humidity. Bring it out out the cold room and remove the residual salt, apply a thin layer of salt to the surface and put the thigh in another cold room.
⦁ Rest: remove the residual salt and lay the thigh in a room with 75% relative humidity and a temperature between 1 and 5°C where it has to stay for at least two months.
⦁ Washing and drying: remove the remaining salt and let the the thigh dry in a well-ventilated room.
⦁ Pre-aging: remove the remaining salt and suspend the thigh such that it’s hanging freely. Use the humidity inside or let it stay in a well-ventilated room.
⦁ Larding: cover the muscular parts with lard, a mixture of pig fat with a little salt and crushed pepper and sometimes rice flour. This procedure is done in order to make the surface of the muscular parts softer, avoiding too rapid drying of the surface.
⦁ Aging: the thigh is suspended in a room with controlled temperature and relative humidity for at least a year.

Mr Nardi told us that his company were raising Maremmana cattle near the butcher’s shop and he was willing to accompany us there. After about 5 minutes drive, we arrived at the farm where two herds of Maremmana cattle were living inside enclosures, partly covered by roofs. Their diet consisted of hay, alfalfa, corn, cereals, barley and beans.

The enclosure looked large such that the animals were free to move under open sky or under a roof. Moreover, the farm is surrounded by wide open spaces and a few houses, which ensures a quiet and peaceful atmosphere in spite of being close to the Tyrrhenian sea, which is frequented by numerous people in summer.

Maremmana cattle is rustic and frugal, resistant against diseases and difficult weather and it adapts itself to find something to eat even in droughts.

Maremmana cattle have been used as domestic animals for centuries in Maremma. It has excellent meat and it can work for hours. Given their robust characteristics, it was used as a beast of burden for pulling carts filled with goods and people and for working the land. In fact, there was a group of painters at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, called macchiaoli, who specialised in painting Maremmana cattle at work.

Even today there are cowboys called butteri who enter enclosures on horseback, selecting the cattle most suited for being slaughtered. After having been rounded up, the animals enter a corridor leading to the slaughterhouse. This passage lasts a very short time, maybe a few minutes, which hopefully lets the animals be as relaxed as possible when they are finished off.

Next, butchers transform the meat into products, which are sold in the butcher’s shop as described above.

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