If you’re a foodie or a meat lover, you may have heard of the Chianina breed of cattle, known for its lean and flavorful meat.
Originating in Italy, this breed has been used for centuries to create the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a grilled steak dish that is a must-try for any food enthusiast.
However, finding Chianina beef in the United States can be a challenge.
In this article, we’ll explore where you can buy this delicious meat and how to recreate the Tuscan steak experience at home.
So, get ready to sink your teeth into some juicy and tender Chianina beef!
Where To Buy Chianina Beef In USA?
As mentioned earlier, Chianina beef can be difficult to find in the United States. However, there are a few sources that offer this delicious meat.
One option is to look for local beef sources that raise heritage breeds. While they may not specifically have Chianina, they may have a similar breed that can work as a substitute.
Another option is to search for online retailers that specialize in high-quality meats. These retailers may offer Chianina beef sourced from Italy or even from farms in the United States that raise this breed.
It’s important to note that Chianina beef is typically more expensive than other types of beef due to its rarity and high quality. However, the taste and texture of this meat are well worth the investment for any food lover.
What Is Chianina Beef?
Chianina beef is a type of meat that comes from the Chianina cattle breed, which is native to Italy. This breed is one of the oldest and largest cattle breeds in the world, and it is known for its lean and tender meat. Chianina beef is also low in cholesterol and high in protein, making it a popular choice for athletes and older individuals who require more protein in their diets.
The Chianina breed is raised in Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio regions of Italy, and it has been used in many traditional Italian dishes. One of the most popular ways to prepare Chianina beef is by grilling it as a Tuscan steak. This simple preparation highlights the rich flavor of the meat, which is dark red in color and has marbling of fat among the muscling.
Chianina beef is now available in the United States, thanks to a family in El Paso, Texas who received special permission from the Italian government to raise the breed exclusively in their farm. While it may be difficult to find Chianina beef in local stores, there are online retailers that offer this high-quality meat. Keep in mind that Chianina beef is typically more expensive than other types of beef due to its rarity and high quality. However, for those who appreciate fine dining and exceptional taste, investing in Chianina beef is definitely worth it.
The History Of Chianina Cattle
Chianina cattle are one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world. They originated in the area of the Valdichiana and the middle Tiber valley in Italy, where they have been raised for at least 2200 years. In fact, Columella, an ancient Roman writer, wrote about types of oxen in 55 AD and mentioned the Chianina breed. He described them as “huge, and of a white colour”.
Chianina oxen were primarily used as a source of agricultural power in the region until the Second World War, when they were displaced by mechanization and the collapse of the mezzadria system. However, they were still used in agriculture until at least 1970 and are still used in processions such as the corteo storico of the Palio di Siena.
The breeders began to favor selection of animals more suited to meat production with shorter limbs, longer bodies, and more heavily muscled rump and thighs from 1931. Recently, selection is based on factors such as growth rate, meat yield, and maternal ability.
The Libro Genealogico (“genealogical herdbook”) was established in 1933 when a breed standard was established and commissions were set up by the then Ministero dell’Agricoltura e delle Foreste (ministry of agriculture and forestry) to identify, mark and register morphologically suitable animals. The standard of the Chianina breed was fixed by ministerial decree of 7 August 1935.
Since then, Chianina has become a world-renowned breed raised almost exclusively for its high-quality meat. Through exportation of breeding stock, frozen semen, and embryos, it has reached countries like China, Russia, Asian countries, and the Americas.
Why Is Chianina Beef So Special?
Chianina beef is renowned for its exceptional quality, tenderness, and unique flavor. This breed of cattle has been raised for over 2,000 years and was originally used as a working animal due to its large size and strength. However, with modern farming practices, the Chianina breed is now primarily raised for its meat.
One of the most distinctive features of Chianina beef is its lean and low-fat content, making it one of the healthiest types of beef available. Additionally, the meat is incredibly tender and has fine marbling, which gives it a unique texture and flavor. The T-bone cut of Chianina beef is particularly famous for its tenderness and is used to make the traditional Florentine-style steak.
Another reason why Chianina beef is so special is due to its rarity. This breed of cattle is indigenous to Italy and is not commonly found in other parts of the world. As a result, Chianina beef can be difficult to find in the United States, but it’s worth the effort to experience this exceptional meat.
Online Retailers That Offer Chianina Beef
If you are unable to find Chianina beef at your local butcher or meat market, there are several online retailers that offer this high-quality meat.
One such retailer is a company that specializes in Italian food products. They offer Chianina beef sourced directly from Italy, ensuring the authenticity of the product. They also use isothermal packaging to keep the meat fresh during shipping.
Another option is to look for online retailers that specialize in grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. Some of these retailers may offer Chianina beef sourced from farms in the United States that raise this breed.
It’s important to do your research when choosing an online retailer for Chianina beef. Look for companies that prioritize the quality of their products and have a good reputation among customers. Additionally, make sure to check their shipping policies and prices to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.
Local Butchers And Specialty Stores That Carry Chianina Beef
If you prefer to shop in person, there are a few local butchers and specialty stores that carry Chianina beef. These stores are often smaller and more specialized than your typical grocery store, and they may have a wider selection of high-quality meats.
One such option is the Missouri Meat Producer Directory. This statewide directory lists farmers and processors that sell beef, pork, lamb, and poultry directly to consumers. Some of these processors even have fresh and frozen meat cases that offer services to livestock farmers and consumers. While not all of the farmers listed may have Chianina beef specifically, they may have other high-quality heritage breeds that are worth trying.
Another option is to look for local butchers that specialize in high-quality meats. These butchers may have relationships with farmers who raise Chianina beef or other rare breeds. Some examples of local butchers that carry specialty meats include The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, New York and Lindy & Grundy in Los Angeles, California.
Finally, some specialty stores may carry Chianina beef as well. For example, Eataly is an Italian marketplace with locations in several major cities across the United States. They offer a variety of Italian meats, including Chianina beef sourced from Italy.