It was commonly used by the Etruscans and Romans for its white blanket in triumphal processions and sacrifices to the gods. The meat produced is bright red in colour and boasts high protein and iron levels and a low fat content.
The best-quality Tuscan steak comes from the famous Chianina breed of cattle. In fact, the Chianina has become famous around the world also for the "Bistecca alla Fiorentina": a sizable cut of steak taken from the loin, which has a "T" shaped bone (in English it is called T-bone steak and has the fillet one side and the sirloin on the other).
But what’s the best way to cook this big steak? For this special task we travelled to the Cortona countryside (a few km from the famous Bramasole Villa where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed) to meet Ryan Hanley, an American chef who’s been living in Tuscany for the last 10 years. "I came from California for few months to learn more about Tuscan cuisine, then I met my beautiful Italian wife and now we are raising a Tuscan-American family in beautiful Valdichiana".
"One of the best ways to taste Chianina is as a grilled steak. You can have the whole 1- to 2-kg bistecca or the tagliata, which means cut (the meat is grilled and then sliced after it has been cooked). You can have Tagliata with arugula and parmigiano on top or served with a pepper corn and olive-oil essence. I like to mix both versions in the same dish. You can cook the meat as much as you want but the best way to taste it is rare, almost raw (in Italian "al sangue")."