Sella di San Venanzo

Umbria

Sella di San Venanzo – Photo & text © parks.it

What it is
It was born from the refined pork butchering art of the grocers from San Venanzo, a town situated in the middle of the very green area on the slopes of Mt. Peglia.

 

It is a particular kind of lard preserving some lean meat grafted into the scented fat part.

How to prepare it
It is prepared with a whole pork loin with all its lard (better if it comes from a precious breed like Cinta Senese). After deboning and carefully trimming it, the grocer puts it to cool for the whole day at a temperature of 0°C. Then it is salted – at less than 3°C – and “massaged” with a mixture of Orvieto white wine vinegar, garlic, and scented chili pepper. The most “personal” and important stage is represented by flavoring, taking place in special vats where the cold cut is flavored with rosemary small branches, salt, pepper, and a mixture of spices (coriander, wild fennel, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, Jamaica pigment, mace, and ginger). The process lasts about twenty days, during which the Sella is turned upside down every five days. After taking off the salt, washing, and brushing it, it is left hanging in a premise with 70% humidity and 3/5°C temperature. After being washed and massaged again, it is left settling for one week in a premise at 22°C (the oven), and then it is ready for the last maturation stage, taking place in the cellar. After 45 days, it is “dressed” with pork fat and pepper to maintain its tenderness. From this moment, the five-month maturation process begins: after this period, it is ready for consumption.

Uses
In the area of Orvieto, it is traditionally eaten with “torta al testo”. Wines matching very well with it go from Orvietano red wine, consisting of various grapes, to pure Ciliegiolo.

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