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Meat as a Dish in Tuscany

Meat as a Dish in Tuscany

As a rule of thumb, Italians don’t seem to eat plenty of beef although the Chianini steer of Tuscany is unquestionably one of the leading beef animals in the world 

Bue means “steer”, so when you find this word on an Italian bill of fare you are being offered beef, and probably roast beef, for this word is seldom pronounced in restaurants except when it is a question of a roast. Manzo, on the other hand, is used to describing beef dishes, for Manzo means a young steer. 

Usually, veal is eaten in preference to beef and is referred to as Vitello, but if you should come across Vitelli it was in all probability raised in the South or in Sardinia. 

Roast veal was already found on the menus of Renaissance times; at least in Tuscany. It was not brought to the table in one impressive piece, though. Instead, veal was sliced in the kitchen and served in individual portions and based on a sauce of hard-boiled eggs. This was not necessarily because of an aversion to meat in large portions; it might have been an echo of the habits of ancient Romans when meat was cut up in the kitchen. 

Diners were not encouraged to use knives to eat their meat – this was to discourage hot-headed or tipsy guests from carving up each other instead of their meat! A traditional of feuds (enter Romeo and Juliet) is a testament to hot-headed Italian feuds, so the absence of knives might have been as a precaution then and now. 

Meat, to this day, is brought sliced up in Rome – hopefully, it is for other reasons in today’s times, other than hot-headed diners wanting to take out their tempers on other diners. 

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