A significant event in food history was the founding in 1512 of the curiously named Compagnia del Paiolo (company of the cauldron) by Giovan Francesco Rustici in Renaissance Florence.
The motto of the company was l‘arte si fa a cena (the art of dining). It innocently sought culture and conviviality, good taste and simplicity, frankness and friendliness.
Rustici was a painter and sculptor, friend of Andrea del Sarto and Leonardo de Vinci and cousin to Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici (later Pope Clement). At small banquets the members of the company, which included the imaginative gastronome del Sarto, had an obligation to bring a dinner of their own invention and if two had had the same thought they were sentenced to a penalty.
Among the dishes featured by the Paiolanti and possibily one that would have attracted a penalty is this typically Tuscan wild boar dish, with a preparation as old as the Tuscan hills that surround Florence.
Presented in one of the dolceforte (sweet-strong) sauces favoured by the Romans, this dish is making a comeback, albeit with pork (as well as boar). This is an adaptation of the original 1500s recipe.
For the story of the ancient Compagnia del Paiolo, we recommend journalist Pier Francesco Listri’s book.
- 1 kg boar / pork, cut into 3 cm pieces
- 350 ml red wine
- 200 g carrots, cubed small
- 180 g prosciutto / cured ham, cubed small
- 150 g shallots, chopped small
- 2 celery stalks, chopped small
- 75 g raisins
- 65 g candied peel
- 65 g chocolate 75%, grated
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped small
- 50 g pine nuts
- 30 ml olive oil
- 20 ml red wine vinegar
- 3 tsp chestnut flour
- 10 g brown sugar
- 25 black peppercorns
- Lovage, 3 large sprigs, chopped small
- Parsley, large bunch, leaves and stalks separated, chopped
- Rosemary, 3 large sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- Black pepper, large pinch
- Salt, pinch
Marinade meat in black peppercorns, red wine, red wine vinegar and bay leaves overnight.
Sauté carrots, celery, onions, garlic, prosciutto, lovage, parsley stalks and rosemary in oil in a large saucepan until the vegetables are soft.
Drain soaking liquid from meat, brown a few pieces at a time in a little oil in a separate frying pan.
Transfer meat to the large saucepan with the vegetables.
Add a little flour to the frying pan that contained the meat, deglaze with some of the marinade liquid.
Put the meat and its liquid into the large saucepan, cover and cook over a low heat until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes, adding more liquid as necessary.
In a large bowl combine brown sugar, candied peel, chocolate, pine nuts and raisins.
When the meat is cooked add the chocolate mixture to the large saucepan, cook uncovered over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Red Wine Vinegar