Salami Finocchiona

There is a story, that a thief stole a fresh salami at a fair near the Italian town of Prato, and hid it in a field of wild fennel. When he picked it up a few days later, he discovered that the sausage developed a wonderful aroma from the fennel. The Italian name for fennel is “finocchio” so it comes as no surprise that Finocchiona PGI salami is characterized by the aroma of the fennel, which is typical of the regional cuisine and which grows in the production area. The color of the meat slices ranges from red in the lean parts to white/pinkish in the fatty parts, and the fennel seeds and/or flowers may also be visible. The pronounced aroma of fennel and slight aroma of garlic give the salami its characteristic pleasant smell. It has a fresh and appetizing taste, which is never acidic.

lean pork trimmings (butt)400 g0.88 lb.
beef (chuck)400 g0.88 lb.
pork back fat or fat trimmings200 g0.44 lb.
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
salt28 g5 tsp.
Cure #22.5 g½ tsp.
dextrose (glucose), 0.2%
sugar, 0.2%
white pepper2.0 g1 tsp.
black peppercorns4.0 g1 tsp.
whole fennel seeds (dried)3.0 g2 tsp.
garlic2.0 g1 small clove
red wine (Chianti)25 ml1½ Tbsp.
T-SPX culture0.12 guse scale
  1. Grind meat and fat through 3/16” plate (5 mm).
  2. Mix all ingredients with ground meat.
  3. Stuff firmly into beef middles or 46-60 mm protein lined fibrous casings.
  4. Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90-85% humidity.
  5. Dry at 16-12º C (60-54º F), 85-80% humidity for about 30 days. The sausage is dried until around 30-35% in weight is lost.
  6. Store sausages at 10-15º C (50-59º F), 75% humidity.
Finocchiona PGI was awarded PGI certificate of origin on April 23, 2015.

The geographical area of production

The production area of Finocchiona PGI covers the entire territory of mainland Tuscany, excluding the islands, which is the area in which the production of this typical product has become established over time. This is a mountainous area in the north and east, marking its boundaries, and an extensive upland area, with vineyards, woodlands and pasture land for livestock rearing in the open, sloping down to the coastal plains in the west. Until the 1970s, the ‘mezzadria’ - agricultural holdings organized on the basis of sharecropping, now replaced in large part by farmer-proprietors, preserved the farming of pigs of the historical Cinta Senese breed, which has in the meantime also faced and overcome the risk of extinction, and white breeds of pigs, from which the raw material for Tuscany charcuterie comes, and handed down the specialized know-how and craft processing methods used for ‘Finocchiona’. Meat, wine and the widespread presence of wild fennel have helped develop the taste of charcuterie producers, who are the custodians of expert, craft production methods, a heritage of age-old techniques and customs that have come down to today’s processing undertakings, located throughout the production area.

The addition of wine to the meat mixture, in accordance with the historical production method, is proof of the strong link with the local area, whose wines are known throughout the world. The product is a cylindrical sausage, coated with the characteristic feathery mold that develops during maturation. After stuffing small salamis weigh from 0.5 kg to larger ones up to 25 kg. The salami is released for consumption whole or in thick slices, vacuum packed, or packed in a protective atmosphere in thin slices.


The historical reputation of ‘Finocchiona’ is evidenced by numerous documents. For instance, Rigutini and Fanfani’s ‘Vocabolario della lingua parlata’ of 1875, the 1889 edition of the ‘Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca’, which demonstrates the link between ‘Finocchiona’ and Tuscany, and the work of Professor Italo Ghinelli, who in 1977 confirmed the Tuscan origin of the product. ‘Finocchiona’ is one of the most widely available forms of charcuterie in Tuscany and is regularly referred to in the weekly charcuterie product bulletins published by an authoritative nationally distributed specialized magazine.


To prepare Finocchiona, PGI fresh meat is used, which is not allowed to be frozen. The meat comes from heavy pigs, which have specific genetic properties and are raised for at least nine months until they achieve a heavy weight and their meat is ideal for producing ‘Finocchiona’ PGI. The pigs are on a strictly regulated diet which is based mainly on cereals. The production of quality meat from the Cinta Senese breed helped to further spread the character of the product and consolidate its reputation. Pigs of the Cinta Senese breed, reared in the open or using a mixed system, feed by grazing in woods and/or on bare land sown with forage and cereal plants.

Meat: pork shoulder, ham-part of rear leg, lean belly, lean jowls, pork butt and neck, pork belly. Freezing meat is not allowed.
Ingredients: salt 25 – 30 g/per 1 kg of meat, ground pepper 0.5 – 1.0 g/1 kg meat, whole or crushed pepper 2.0 – 5.0 g/1 kg meat, garlic 0.5 – 1.0 g/1 kg, fennel 2 – 5 g/1 kg. The following additives are allowed: nitrite (E 250), nitrate (E 252 & E 252), ascorbic acid (E 300), sodium ascorbate (E 301), sugar (sucrose, dextrose, fructose, lactose) maximum 10 g /1 kg meat, starter culture.
Processing: meats are ground through 4.5 – 8 mm (3/16 – 3/8”) plate, mixed with ingredients and stuffed into natural casings. Then the sausage is submitted to drying at 12 - 25° C (53 – 77° F ). Then the sausages mature at 11 - 18° C (52 - 64° F), 65-90% humidity. The total time of drying and maturing depends on the size ad is as follows: sausages weighing 0.5 – 1 kg, at least 15 days, between 1 – 6 kg, at least 21 days, between 6 – 25 kg at least 45 days (these due to their huge weight may be stuffed into synthetic casings).

The name Finocchiona must be in distinct, indelible lettering of a color that strongly contrasts with that of the label and that is clearly distinguishable from and larger than any other writing on the label and of a minimum of 3 mm and must be followed immediately by the words ‘Indicazione Geografica Protetta’ [Protected Geographical Indication] or the letters ‘I.G.P.’ [P.G.I.]. The label must always bear the Community PGI logo.

The following spice and herb combination can be found in some recipes:

spices: 4 parts coriander, 3 parts mace, 2 parts allspice, 1 part fennel.
herbs: 3 parts marjoram, 1 part thyme, 1 part basil.
To make 5 kg sausage about 7 g of spices and 4 g of herbs are needed.

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