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Scudellaro Agricultural Company
Not far from the Villa Garzoni , designed by the famous Jacopo Sansovino , in the beautiful Villa Renier , in the heart of the green countryside south of Padua, has its headquarters the Scudellaro Agricultural Company .
It is a specialized company that raises in a non intensive way various prized poultry breeds, chosen for the quality of the meat they produce. The activity was born about 30 years ago to respond to the growing demand from neighbors and acquaintances who had the privilege of tasting the birds that the Scudellaro family bred for their own needs.
In large open-air enclosures, valuable breed poultry are raised such as: naked neck and kabir chickens, "Gaina" hens, golden and Gaina capons, guinea-fowl capons, guinea fowl gallor, Romagna goose and swan goose, mallard, local tacchinella with black plumage, "Mulard" anitra, over the most common breeds such as broiler chicken, heavy R1 chicken, heavy bare neck chicken, French and Italian shrike, heavy goose, naked neck capon, eureka capon, kabir capon.
In Morozzo traditionally the capons are made with “la nostrana di Morozzo”, which comes from the blonde breed, and, when ready, they have a long black tail with metallic reflections and shiny brick-red feathers edged with blue or green. We recognize for a detail that only breeders notice: during fairs and exhibitions, in cages and baskets, the capons are placidly placed side by side in pairs, unthinkable behavior for two roosters.
The preparation of Capon is an exclusive prerogative of women, because it requires fine and skillful hands, and its realization of the patient work began in the spring, with the hatching of the chicks. In the early days their diet is based on vegetable feed and then they are left free: the cockerels (and then the capons) must have at least five square meters of outdoor space and are locked up only at night. Castration takes place in August, allowing the Capons to grow for another four, five months and be ready for Christmas (they never slaughter themselves before 220 days).
The meat of the Capon is soft, tender and delicate: the purists taste it simply boiled and soaked in salt (or at least accompanied by the green “bagnet”) but it can also be an ingredient in refined dishes, such as mess of meat or stuffed capon.
Genitals, crests and wattles are sautéed with a mixture of onion, rosemary and tomato or used for the offal sauce, to season the most classic Piedmontese dish, the “tajarin” (based on eggs and flour, kneaded, rolled and , according to the best tradition, also cut by hand for thin pasta hair that should be lightly scalded in boiling water).
CARMAGNOLA'S GREY RABBIT
As the name suggests, the Carmagnola's Gray Rabbit has soft, thick, gray fur (a little lighter on the belly, on the limbs and in the end of the tail). Of medium size, with an elongated body and muscular loins, it seems to descend from a cross with the chinchilla. The very delicate health and the very thin skin make it very difficult to breed in the common cages: the ideal is a fence with a small piece of lawn and a small shelter in case of bad weather, away from currents, humidity and overcrowding of intensive farms.
The best diet is based on grass and natural feed, slaughtering must take place when it reaches a weight between 3.5 and 5.5 kilograms for males and 3.5 and 4 kilograms for females.
The Carmagnola's Grey Rabbit is first of all noted for its excellent yield: its bone structure is very fine and the muscle mass is superior to that of other breeds. The meats are fine, tender, savory, particularly white and not at all stringy. Once the rabbit with peppers made with the meat of Carmagnola's Greay Rabbit was an unfailing dish in every menu of Piedmontese taverns, as well as the Arneis rabbit in the Roero, flat ancient and direct heir of the hare al civet (from the exquisite meat marinated in blood and wine). More modern variants propose it in sweet and sour, in chocolate, in egg sauce.
The “Sambucana” appeared on the mountains of the Occitan Valle Stura, in the province of Cuneo, in the eighteenth century and was immediately adapted to high-altitude pastures. It is a medium-large sized sheep, with a large and muscular rump and fine, solid, not very long limbs. The head is light, without horns, without wool, the muzzle is slightly mountainous, the ears slightly spread. The wool is straw-white (only rare specimens have a black fleece and a small star-like patch on the head) and the tail - thin and woolly - reaches up to the hocks.
The “Sambucana” is precious for wool, but above all for meat. Lambs are slaughtered at an age ranging from 45 to 60 days (between about 18 and 25 kilos in weight).
The greatest production falls during the Christmas period, but there is also, in the valley, the tradition of consuming lamb as early as the end of October, when the butchers are selling the lamb (“tardun”) born at the end of spring and fed with breast milk and grass from the mountain pastures. The meat of the Sambucano’s lamb is compact, savory, tasty, not very fatty and rich in protein. Bartolo Bruna, chef of the hotel restaurant “Pace di Sambuco”, is the master of recipes based on this lamb.
He prepares it in the oven with rosemary, in a bread crust, with topinambour, and then he cooks the lamb offal: the liver in the pan, the liver paté with chestnuts and the finanziera are just some examples of his interpretations of the Sambucano’s lamb.
Like all native cattle with a white coat, it is an ancient breed. But the most interesting story of the "Piemontese" begins in 1886. In that year and in the small town of Guarene d'Alba, in the province of Cuneo, for the first time, from a spontaneous change, a bull is born with huge buttocks and very muscular thighs. Said "horse rump" or "double rump", he is the forefather of our "calves of the thigh". A historical turning point: a meat, dairy (in particular in the mountains) and work breeds, from that moment the "Piemontese" inaugurates its future career as a meat producer.
At the beginning of the twentieth century there are 680 thousand animals; in 1973 the "Piemontese" is the third among the Italian breeds and the first of the autochthonous ones and, still in 1985, it counts over 600 thousand heads. But ten years is more than enough to halve them. Today there are about 300 thousand animals, distributed in 15 thousand farms: mostly small family-run stables, absolutely unable to withstand the competition of large industrial farms. And yet the "Piemontese" meat is exceptional, one of the best in Italy, unique, with the right level of intramuscular fat that makes it lean, but particularly tasty, and an extremely low cholesterol level.
To test it, there is a simple dish, which not by chance belongs only to the Piedmontese tradition: the raw meat beaten with a knife (seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and very little pepper). The other classic dish is the “gran bollito misto”, to be dipped in bites in salt and bagnet (the green bath, based on parsley, anchovies and garlic, the red one, made from tomato, the cognà, made of quince and pears cooked in the must, saossa d'avije, a sauce with honey, walnuts and mustard, and the horseradish sauce). The veal is cooked, but also the castrato, the ox and the cow (the swear).
In Piedmont, until a few decades ago, there was no farm that did not raise chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits: small poultry for family consumption or sold to supplement the modest company budgets.
The traditional breeds of chickens raised were two: the "Bionda Piemontese" (also called Bionda di Cuneo, Bionda di Villanova, Rossa delle Crivelle or Nostralina) and the Bianca di Saluzzo (also known as Bianca di Cavour).
The "Bionda" has golden and chamois plumage, the high tail, black with metallic reflexes, the yellow beak and the well developed crest, erect, with four, six teeth.
The area of the "Bionda", which covers almost all of Piedmont, is very large.
In the sixties the advent of industrial breeding and, in particular in the Saluzzo area, the development of intensive agriculture, have supplanted these traditional breeds (suitable exclusively for outdoor breeding). Chicken has always been cooked in the Langa taverns and all over the Cuneo area, "alla cacciatora": small pieces of chicken sautéed in chopped herbs, a little white wine, onions and chopped tomatoes. The meat acquires flavor and softness from the sauce and the sauce itself serves as a condiment for polenta. Finally, the boiled chicken is excellent served with its broth, in jelly or salad.