Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Time marches on and habits change. But certain things never go out of style, especially when we are talking about food.

That is why we are searching for the old flavors of Chianti steeped in historic recipes and still surviving. Some changes are inevitable, but the essence remains. That is what brings us back in our hearts and minds to our grandparents’ table.

Whoever lives here or has visited while on vacation, can’t help but notice an unusual type of delicious salami: named “Mezzone”, but also called “Bastardo”.

And who, better than Morando Morandi, butcher who has lived in Tavarnelle all his life, can talk about it? “When families were numerous,”, begins Morando, “larger animals were raised. The Large White, who look just like his name, was also found on farms where black pigs were raised. This race was crossed with that of the Cinta Senese”.

“In order to make the product leaner”, he says, “beef was added to the pork. In this way the salami known as “Bastard” or “Mezzone”, because of the mixing of the two, was born”.

“It is typical of our area and has always existed. Even my grandfather Aurelio produced it. Born in the 1800s, he began the business and taught it to me when I was 11. His shop was found in the same place it is today”.

dietro-il-bastardo-davanti-il-salame-normale“In memory of tradition”, he continues, “we still produce it, with some differences. “Breeds and fodder are selected. Meat from the “Cinta’ is no longer used. It has become elite”.

“The third and last change regarding the mix”, he explains, “is that today we add only salt and pepper. They used to add wine which gave the salami color. I still remember my grandfather’s words; “a glass for the pig and one for me””.

“As for taste,” he continues “the “Bastardo” is similar to normal salami which is made up entirely of pork. It has fewer pieces of fat. The fat is ground together with the lean meat making the resulting salami fairly soft”.

“Regarding price,” concludes the butcher from Tavarnelle, “it should cost a little more, because beef is more expensive than pork. But I sell it at the same price as normal salami. It is much sought after and appreciated”.

And, while giving us an explanation, he gives a slice to his grandson, Gabriele. As a representative of the younger generation, Gabriele enjoys it… and asks for more.

Noemi Bartalesi