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Yearning for Tuscany: The Wild Boar Dilemma

Pork products in Tuscany
Pork products in Tuscany

If you have been to Tuscany and you love food, then you know what happens when you get back to Dallas: you crave all of the sensuous tastes that have satiated your palate. When I returned from Siena last fall, I craved sage and pork. In particular, sausage from the Cinta Senese pig, a product, of course, you can’t buy in the U.S. And fresh pici, a labor-intensive semolina pasta that is common to the Tuscan table. Three days after I returned, I called Paul over at Jimmy’s Food Store. Before I could finish the sentence: “Hi, I just got back from Tuscany and…”, he interrupted me and said, “We don’t have pici.”

If you live in Dallas, you know good Tuscan is hard to find. I’ve had some “come close” meals at Bene Bene in North Dallas. Today comes a cry from another Tuscan traveler. I can taste her pain.

My husband and I recently had the best meal of our lives in Siena, Italy…it was a boar dish, marinated in milk and other amazing spices for something like 24 hours then slowly cooked to perfection.  His birthday is coming up and I’d love to find a restaurant in Dallas that has authentic Tuscan food, and that makes a similar dish.  I know it’s a long shot, but do you know of a place that does?  I’ve done some research but looks like the Italian places I know don’t serve similar food, and especially not boar.

16 comments on “Yearning for Tuscany: The Wild Boar Dilemma

  1. Do Italian vacationers returning to Siena from Texas ask their food critics where to find amazing enchiladas locally?

  2. Worzel, thanks. I was looking for “fresh pici.”
    Central Market has dried. Bronzeman, good answer. Pot Net, as usual, nice thought.

  3. Marlene De Blasi, in “A Thousand Days in Tuscany” has a recipe from there entitled “Braised Pork to Taste Like Wild Boar.” It really does, too. Do *not* leave out the (dried) juniper berries. We served it with white cannelloni beans with rosemary. Worzel has had it and can vouch for it (when he’s not drinking vino!).

    I think that the only way you will get it here, other than that way, is via a personal chef, as it’s illegal in Texas for a restaurant to serve wild meat, due to inspection rules.

  4. Find a hunter who’s willing to donate meat. My dad had a wild boar butchered a few years back and gave me some prime cuts. I’ve never gotten over wanting him to go back and get more. Unfortunately, I think I might have to pay him to leave his present hunting lease.

  5. Thanks Broken Arrow (boar) Ranch AKA HC.

    Ranched is legal because it’s inspected and is not a wild animal. Game caught in the wild is not legal in restaurants — you know that or you wouldn’t have a market to raise it for.

    Wild boar is nothing more than a common name for the same thing as wild hog, feral pig, feral hog, Old World swine, razorback, etc. It’s where it’s sourced that counts.

  6. Read more about Broken Arrow Ranch, Billusa99. It’s not a single ranch, but an aggregation of nearly a million square acres of private ranches. The boar are born in the wild, forage in the wild, and are hunted and killed (with rifle and scope) in the field. They’re no different than what any hunter in Texas bags. It’s the field harvesting process that is inspected — i.e., how the animal is cleaned and processed after it’s dead.

  7. HC– any places in Broken Arrow Ranch you recommend in particular? Thanks to everyone for the recs…i’m the one who asked Nancy about the boar and this is all so helpful!

  8. bond007- just called Acc Pom and the very knowledgable lady who answered the phone described their wild boar pasta dish and it sounds verrry similar..thanks so much for the info! ;)

  9. hi i live in tuscany and would like to let you know there’s a cool twitter called tuscanycious where authentic recipes in only 140 char.(http://twitter.com/Tuscanycious) are given why don’t you join and see if you can get the feel by trying to make some tuscan dishes back at home? If you need any recipe or just advice let me know!
    oriana