Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Wearing her ever present apron, 79 year old Nonna Maria greets us next to the fire in beautiful Poggio al Bosco. She is here to tell us a delicious Christmas recipe.

Maria was one of the first women of Tavarnelle to get her driver’s license. She used to go to Florence, even at night, in the 70s and 80s. She even drove the tractor because her husband couldn’t see well Maria is a lady of another epoch, with a strong temperament.

In addition to taking charge of transportation means, she also supported her family, especially after her beloved husband, Primo, passed away.

“In the beginning, I lived in San Vito, in the San Casciano countryside. Then I got married and moved to the area of Malafrasca. We were farmers, and we worked for the Murlo Farm. We moved in here in the 60s and started our own farm”.

“We would cultivate a field – she continues – that alternated a roll of olives with a row of grapes. In 1966 we started our first vineyard and until the 90s we sold wine to private people, Without bottling it. Now, with bag in the box, we have returned to our origins.” “We used to spend Christmas with the family. The menu was hen broth, capon and “torta pesata”, a type of pie with eggs, flour, and sugar in the same quantity, with the addition of grated orange peel”.

“I went to the windmill in Tavarnelle with the wheat”, she also continues, “and I returned with flour. The building was in what is presently the Via del Mulino, behind the Golosa pastry shop”.

“We didn’t used to give gifts and we didn’t have a Christmas tree. We made the Nativity scene in the church and we went to see it on Sunday, both in the morning and in the evening. We didn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve. At 7:30 AM on the 25th there was a mass in the church of San Pietro in Bossolo”.

“My daughter and grandchildren named this recipe “maiale briaco” (drunk pork)”, she concludes. “It is a recipe that farm families used to finish opened bottles of wine. To cook it, we killed the pigs that were grown here, In the middle of the field. Eating it was a luxury”.


“Maiale briaco” is a typical dish for the holiday, made with few ingredients, all locally grown. We judged the amount of cooking time by instinct. At that time there weren’t scales, cookbooks, or the Internet.

The recipe can be repeated today, especially by people who are finishing up preparations for Christmas or on a Sunday lunch. With little effort you can obtain an excellent result, surprising your diners.

Recipe for “MAIALE BRIACO”

INGREDIENTS: Pork cut into pieces Garlic, Rosemary, parsley and fennel seeds/chopped together and browned in olive oil Red wine

PREPARATION: Brown the pork in the herbs and olive oil and cover everything with wine. Let it boil for three or four hours on a slow flame. Serve with salad, radicchio or polenta. You can pair it with a good Merlot.


Noemi Bartalesi