Wild Boar

In many areas of the Maremma the farmworkers reside in large villages and not scattered anymore in isolated cottages. The abandonment of the land by the farmworkers has increased the population of wild boar which, undisturbed, wander around the farmyards of the abandoned cottages. In the group there are united the swine that have chosen freedom.... running away from the butcher to end up under the "barrel" of the hunter. Here is the "heraldry scale" of the wild boar according to the canons of the "great hunt" and also what we read in the "holy scriptures" of French cooking. "Marcassin" is the young wild pig, the "sanglier" the adult and the "ermite" the old man. On the gastronomic scale the imposing figure of the "ermite", a wild boar of over four years old, is not in first position. The leathery meat even if tasty, is destined to be hung for a long time; and it is also very difficult to take away that unpleasant "taste" of game that modern day palates do not appreciate and only with a long marinade in vinegar may be eliminated. The wild boar which gives most pleasure to our appetite, is that of the young "marcassin", but not too young, or a "sanglier" of one and a half years old.... until three years old. In Maremma there are the specialists able to establish the age of a wild boar "reading" the tusks that reveal many things, like the palm reader who reads palms, they come to know the life, death and miracles... The leg roasts well, cooked in the oven, sprinkled with wine, and served with an apple sauce, or with mustard, and with a sour sauce; most certainly with a sweet and strong sauce, prepared with all care: with biscuits, "ugly but good", soaked in broth, accompanied with a little spice, mixed with some almonds, currents, plain chocolate and vinegar. But there are many other ways of cooking wild boar: stewed "alla Maremmana", or that with sour apples, a classic recipe that dates back to the Renaissance, such as that of the exquisite "dolceforte" , or more simply in a saucepan with all herbs, a little lemon juice and wine (without tomatoes). This meat often requires a rich and long marinade, and offers the possiblity of preparing very rich dishes, tasty and highly valued which reminds us of the ancient Sienese banquets. An excellent ham can be prepared from the wild boar and an extremely tasty sausage that may be eaten raw as well as cooked when it is fresh and cut when it is mature. There is also the coratella that is made from the entrails; which are stewed "alla Maremmana".