Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Siena: The markets

A lot of travel guides recommend picnics as a great way to economize while traveling through Italy. While this may be the case, it's not really the only reason to do so. Cheeses, cured meats, olives, artichokes and a whole host of other great foods are really best enjoyed when you go to the market and buy the ingredients yourself. The shopping is part of the experience, and the fact that its cheaper than if you ordered food at a restaurant is sort of a pleasant bonus.

Siena must be the wild boar capitol of Italy, and, as such, sampling the various wild boar salamis, or salame di cinghiale, to use the local parlance, makes a great lunch. I can't remember the name of the place, but there is a great market in Siena off one of the main pedestrian streets that has a whole assortment of boar salami, pictured in this post.
Unfortunately, this stuff doesn't travel too well. Fat, begins to melt at a pretty low temperature, and the salami goes bad soon after, so it never would have survived the rest of the vacation. Otherwise, I would have had to buy another suitcase to fit everything I would have bought here. I was especially intrigued by the lardo, below. This stuff looked sooo good.
At the market we went to, a company called Il Borgo produced all of the salumi. I don't know if they shop to the U.S., but if they do, someone please let me know.

The market also carried a nice variety of tuscan olive oil (In my opinion, the best olive oil comes from Tuscany), balsamic vinegar, local wines (chianti), and some pickled and oil cured seafood items.

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