Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Pigging out with nose-to-tail eating

Pigging out with nose-to-tail eating
Nose-to-tail eating is an English expression that’s used to suggest no food goes to waste. And in Italy, when it comes to pork, it’s a saying that very much rings true. Over the years Italians have perfected recipes around almost every part of a pig – and they’ve even some interesting non-culinary uses for the bits they don’t eat too.
Everyone knows about ham, pork chops, sausages and crackling. But the Italians have a whole host of other amazing ways to serve every last mouthful of a pig. This is especially the case in Tuscany, where generations of farmers who have lived through wartime have learnt not to waste any part of the animal.

The tail and rind are delicious accompaniments for beans, the fat makes great lard or suet, trotters become tender when slow-roasted and even the snout comes into its own in a hearty soup, or served crispy with truffles. The pig’s bristles are often used in brushes and the lard can also be used to make candles – although tallow wax, as it is known, does tend to let off an unpleasant smell when it burns. So whether it’s the nose, the tail, or everything in-between, Tuscan’s know how to get the most out of a pig.