Attenzione, Cinghiali…Hunters On the Way!

December 4, 2015 / Local Interest
Umbria

GREAT OPPORTUNITY!: Anne Robichaud will be teaching Umbrian rural cuisine classes in private homes in Feb/Mar in the U.S. Contact her if interested. And/or join her in May 2016 for ten days of discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.


Quando piove e tira vento, il cacciatore perde tempo (Lit., “when it rains and the wind blows, the hunter wastes his time”) says the old saying, thus verifying why Ristorante/Bar Da Giovannino near our house was full of wild boar-hunters one rainy autumn Saturday. As heavy rains bucketed down, hunters in camouflage suits and the required fluorescent vests sat in the bar, sharing “missed hits” stories of past cinghiale hunts over espresso or panini di prosciutto with vino rosso – or shots of grappa (“takes the chill out of the bones”, elderly Siverio affirmed).

Siverio, Marcello and Daniele snack before the hunt
Hunters gather at Giovannino's to talk tactics
Panini before the hunt
Loris, caposquadra, enoys a panino con la mortdella
Hunters gather at Ristorante Da Giovannino to talk the hunt, strategies

All headed out for wild boar as soon as the rain let up. The two caposquadra (team leaders) of our mountain area, Sergio and Italo, left with kilos of sliced prosciutto and paper bags of sliced bread for their respective squadre, each of about thirty men, all equipped with radios in their pockets (required by law) so that each knows the location of all. The number of dogs they’ll take varies: a team of about thirty will use twenty dogs or more.

All Sergio's squadra must have a vest like his, same badge
Treasured dogs ready for the hunt
Van ready to go with wild boar dogs

Sergio and Italo applied to the Regione dell’Umbria to be caposquadre, taking the required 3-day course on hunting laws, environmental awareness and rigid safety measures. Before each hunt, la squadra meets at Giovannino’s and the caposquadra must fill out a form stating point of departure, time of return and listing all men hunting that day (each must sign his name on the list). If there is an accident – and mamma mia, local newspapers unfortunately report too frequently accidental deaths due to a squadra member mistaking a fellow hunter’s movements for a cinghiale – the responsibility lies on the caposquadra until an investigation proves otherwise.

Sergio, caposquadra, checks his list of hunters

Americo, a farmer/sculptor, has the most beautiful gun of anyone in the squadra: he carved the stock with scenes of wild boar hunts on one side, portraits of his dogs on the other. Giancarlo, friend Peppa’s son, is appassionato, too of wild boar hunting. If la squadra brings in a boar, what a feast afterwards: the hunters butcher the boar together, dividing up the meat. You might try cinghiale at an Italian restaurant but no one cooks it like the wife – or mother – of a wild boar hunter. Peppa serves her cinghiale stew with torta (Umbrian flatbread) on the side – and so does Americo’s wife Olga. Olga’s is probably the best cinghiale I’ve ever tasted: maybe it’s the juniper berries?

Americo proudly holds the gun he carved
Americo's dogs carved on his gun stock
Matteo and Giancarlo before the hunt
Wild boar, after the hunt
Wild boar sausages
Wild boar, red wine and torta
Peppa tempts guests with wild boar- shot by son Giancarlo
Olga serves the widl boar shot by husband Americo

cinghiale dal olga

Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See www.annesitaly.com for more on her Umbria tours. Do see www.stayassisi.com for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

25 Responses to “Attenzione, Cinghiali…Hunters On the Way!”

  1. Lisa ryan

    Anne is a treasure. Always trying to find a way to return. She captures the magic of this beautiful place.

    Reply
  2. Trish Shoemaker

    Great memories of the dinner you arranged for us with Amerigo and Olga at their farm. Her cinghiali and his carvings were all works of art!

    Reply
  3. Sally Walters

    What a great story Anne! I remember the ristorante well and, of course, always love to see photos of two of my favorite people – Peppa and Pino!

    Reply
  4. Francesca Guacalone

    Fabulous photos and great descriptions!
    I appreciated all the prep and training AND the safety precautions! Great photo of Pino!
    Ciao!

    Reply
  5. Always know a posting by Anne. Love seeing the pictures that accentuate the story and are a story by themselves! Another vivid glimpse into my beloved Italia. Grazie mille

    Reply
  6. KarenKotoske

    Anne, your cinghiale story brought back a rush of beautiful memories to Tom and me about the fall days we spent in Assisi. It’s great fun to see Pino and Peppa here in this story. Among our best memories were the visits to Assisi farms which you arranged, and none more wonderful to remember than the delightful dinner of cinghiale prepared by the hunter’s wife who is also the cook the Franciscan monastery in Assisi. The hunter/farmer was also a formally- trained woodcarver. His gun rack/case was just to the left of where I was sitting at their dining table. Tom (who is a woodcarver himself) was impressed by the carving of the cinghiale hunt on one of the guns. There were also several of his beautiful carvings displayed in their home. The cinghiale meal his wife prepared for us and another American couple was delicious. She, in good Italian style, did not dine with us because she was busy keeping the freshly-prepared piatti coming. Her cinghiale was served with her fat tasty homemade noodles served, and, of course, their house-made red wine. This memory is with us forever. What a delightful evening you arranged for us. Thank you again, Annie.

    Reply
  7. Stephanie W

    Mmmmm, I can catch a bit of that delicious aroma of wild boar! Love reading about uet another special seasonal tradition. Beautiful pics, I see Pino is a about to enjoy Peppa’s delicious home cooking. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Liz Miller

    Bill and I met some of these hunters when we were visiting. Interesting guys!

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  9. Bill Freston

    Terrific piece as always Annie, I wish I was there to sample it! Buon Natale! Bill

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  10. My very first meal on my very first visit to Italy, Orvieto to be precise, was cianghiali. This was many years and many trips ago. It is still one of my favorites.

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  11. Marie Giacalone

    Wonderful Post- thank you! Any chance that Peppa would share her recipe?

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  12. You can really see the beauty of community living come to life during these events — its such a gift to have that! Peppa and Pino look great as always… great note!

    Reply
  13. Katie Larsh

    Thanks, Annie! Steve and I both enjoyed seeing the great photos of boar hunting, Italian style! loved seeing Pino and could almost taste the cinghiale off the page!
    Wishing you all a Buon Natale and Felice Anno Nuovo!

    Reply
  14. Jenny Hannan

    Wild boar! Well, over 30 years ago as a young Tuscan wife who made her own pasta, I did try cooking wild boar … three days in the marinade and v slow cooking. Well, the result was great, but the TIME. So, I’d travel the distance to Peppa to eat hers any day!

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  15. Rick Hayden

    The no-longer-worthy-to-be-named Osteria tucked under the steps of a certain Tuscan Agriturismo (do they call them that anymore ?) used to be run by one Alvaro, and his wife whose specialty was cinghiale in a brunello wine sauce…Ahhhhhhh! We returned the next evening to reprise the repast! Alas, Alvaro and wife have retired to Bulgaria (of all places – to farm) and the osteria is now in the hands of, how shall we say, pretendenti di Frou-Frou verde in cucina?

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  16. Great post. Fascinating look into their culture. I really appreciate the breadth of topics in this blog. Always interesting!!

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  17. Joan Noble

    What a treat to read the comments and recall splendid days in Umbria! Brava, Anna!

    Reply
  18. Anne Robichaud

    Thanks to all and Marie, Peppa does not have a recipe! For anything she cooks (no books at all in her home) – if you wish to learn to make cinghiale, you need to come to Umbria and spend time with the farm women, observing what they do.
    Two days of work..marinating for hours in herbs, juniper berries, wines, etc

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  19. Ginny Siggia

    I was introduced to cinghiali while in Umbria for a choral festival (brava to Anne, fabulous tour leader!). It was a hearty and delicious meal, made with risotto. I like the idea of including grappa. There’s always room for that!

    Reply
  20. Suzanne and Jack

    You bring the customs of Umbria to life. Always something to learn from your writing Anne. I could just taste the panini with prosciutto and wine. Thank you for another great article.

    Reply
  21. marianna raccuglia

    What is there left to say?! I LOVE reading everything you write, your photos make me want to be there and as a “older” person, I can freely say that a photo of Your Pino is always a welcome sight! Merry Christmas to You, dear Anne and your family. Tanti baci Marianna

    Reply
  22. Trisha Lenarz-Garmoe

    As always Annie’s writing draws you in with compelling description. Her pieces leave you with a longing to return to Umbria. Here in Iowa I’ll close my eyes and picture the loveliness!!!
    Thanks, Annie. Trisha Garmoe

    Reply
  23. Paul Huckett

    Another beautiful piece of writing that once again sharpens my desire to travel to Italy . After finding Annie’s blog through italiannotebook.com I wait for each update . Makes my day. Many thanks Annie !

    Reply
  24. Marie Deveney

    Thanks again Anne for your hospitality and expertise during our stay in Assisi this October! Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

    Reply

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