Our local products: olive oil, wine, the “Peposo alla Fornacina”
Impruneta is one of the towns of the Florentine countryside; the hilly Tuscan area famous for its breathtaking panoramas, outstanding local products and high-quality food, such as: wine from the Chianti region; extra virgin olive oil, and the famous “ Impruneta-style Peposo.” The “Peposo” is a braised beef stew infused with lots of pepper and red wine, Chianti, of course.
Local lore recounts that the “Peposo” was created by Impruneta’s kiln workers “fornacini” (those who made bricks, tiles, pots and urns.) They would place pieces of chuck beef in a terracotta Dutch oven with other ingredients, and they would insert the pot at the kiln’s opening. The other ingredients, i.e. a generous amount of black peppercorns and red wine, would mask the odor of the not-so-fresh meat (no refrigeration hundreds of years ago.) The stew would cook for a long stretch resulting in a cream-like, thick sauce with very tender chunks of meat.
Legend says that during the times of Brunelleschi, when the architect was building the cupola of Florence’s Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore, the kiln-workers making the church’s bricks and tiles would consume large quantities of this stew. They would accompany their meals with delicious bread and many glasses of wine to restore their energy after a long day’s work. We should be grateful for the “Peposo” because its effects led to a glorious Cupola.
Some interesting trivia: it is during this time that the Tuscan expression “a ufo” or “gratis, free” became part of the vernacular. Since all the materials used to build the Duomo, from all over Tuscany, were tax exempt they were stamped with the words “Ad Usum Floretinae Operae” resulting in the acronym AUFO.
Going back to the “Peposo” it is worth noting that this flavorful dish has hardly any fats or oils.
this is the more widely used recipe. There are variations found amongst the local chefs who have created their own versions.
1 kg, 2.2 lbs, of premium chuck beef, cut into 2-inch, 5 cm, cubes
1 lt., 2 pints, of Chianti wine
5 medium cloves of garlic, unpeeled
Crusty Italian bread
Bouquet garni made of rosemary and sage sprigs
Directions. In a Dutch oven, preferably terracotta, layer the chuck beef at the bottom. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, salt, the bouquet garni and the peppercorns. Cover with wine and cook in an oven or on the stove until the meat is very tender, almost falling-apart.
Toast or grill the crusty bread, scoop some of the Peposo on top and accompany with a glass of Chianti.
LOCAL OIL AND WINE
Near, and around, the town of Impruneta you will find a wide assortment of family-owned farms and commercial farms, which produce the finest olive oils and wines. You can find wines with the IGT and DOCG denominations as well as award-winning extra-virgin olive oils.
Impruneta’s countryside is dotted with olive tree groves. Extra-virgin olive oil producers follow a strict set of rules and techniques to arrive at a superior product. Known for its fruity aroma, accentuated by raw artichoke and green grass scents, Impruneta’s extra virgin olive oil has a tangy taste. This distinguished flavor represents the extraordinary landscape of the Chianti region. Our olive trees take root in a soil that is a mix of clay and special Galestro clay, loose marl and limestone. This type of terrain is ideal for producing olive oils with a high-level phenolic profile. Olives are harvested, only by hand, during October or November, depending on the weather and ripeness of the fruit. They are placed in small containers to maintain the integrity of the crop. Pressing, crushing of the olives is done within 12 hours as they are kept in a cold environment of 18-22 degrees Celsius or 64-71 Fahrenheit. This is what is known as “cold pressing”.
Just by surveying the sweeping panoramas accentuated by hills, one realizes that the area provides a unique environment for viticulture. Our wines fall under the “Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG” denomination in the annual, as well as reserve vintages. These wines are produced by local enterprises following strict regulations using Sangiovese grapes. Recognized with innumerable national and international awards, our wines are world-renowned. A glass of Impruneta wine has structure and personality expressing the natural wealth of the landscape. It is suitably paired with Tuscan cuisine, especially dishes featuring meat ragouts, hearty winter soups, beefsteaks, “Peposo” stew, and soft or semi-firm cheeses.
We also produce ITG wines, these are known as the “Supertuscans,” blends made with international grapes. These are elegant wines usually produced in medium to small barrels.