This Little Piggy…
I recently received a post about wild boar season in Italy from one of my readers, Nick Garrett. He included some facts and Italian words which I didn’t know along with his personal story, which I enjoyed very much.
Wild boar in Italian is cinghiale [cin-ghià-le] — click the link for a sound file on how to say it — and I first learned the word when I went to a little restaurant down the street from my office in Florence, a place called “Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco“, translated as the White Boar Tavern. It is a simple restaurant situated a few hundred feet from the Ponte Vecchio in the Oltrarno, and they serve wild boar. I usually stop in at least once when in Florence.
If you clicked the hyperlink to the sound file above, you now know that Cinghiale is a fun word to say, and I think you’ll find the animals themselves fascinating also.
Last Spring I was driving from Castello del Trebbio to Villa Campestri with Linda Sorgiovanni, a food colleague who is a sommelier and tour guide in Tuscany, when we came upon a cinghiale bianco emerging from the forest into a little clearing along the roadway. Linda was kind enough to stop, and as the boar seemed to be no threat, being 15 meters away and on the other side of a small fence I took some photos.
I was charmed (but wary), as the curious creature approached to check us out, grunting softly and casually nosing and rooting. He was a juvenile, and came all the way up to the fence.
Boars in central Italy usually weigh 175 – 220 lbs (80-100 kg), but have been known to reach over 300 lbs (136 kg). The piglets are adorable, with long horizontal stripes and sweet faces.
I’m almost sorry I started this post with a plate of salumi…