If you browse the index of a cookbook or on the web you try to search for "calf"You are faced with an endless list of recipes that use this type of meat, base of many dishes of our tradition: from veal with tuna sauce originating from Piedmont to the Genoese top, from the classic roast to Bolognese tortellini.
Yet despite the culinary pedigree, the veal does not fare well lately. For this the European Union has decided to relaunch it with a massive information communication campaign on TV and web and the setting up of a site, where the supply chain of the country is illustrated and simpler recipes are proposed than the regional classics. But why is it no longer at the top of the preferences of the villagers? Can it be considered a healthy product?
The causes of the crisis
If the calf no longer ends up in the shopping cart so often the causes are to be found in two factors: time and money.
"On the one hand there is an explosion of interest in good food, on the other hand there is the need to simplify life and our traditional recipes based on veal are all long and complex preparationsHe explains Francois Tomei, general manager of Assocarni which brings together the processing and transformation companies of the sector.
“Our investigations, then, reveal how the average consumer, in front of the butcher's counter, does not distinguish the cuts and their qualities and the calf often pays the price ». A beef burger or chicken breast is less demanding and above all cheaper than a mangatello.
"The contraction in consumption due to costs", continues the expert, "had more weight thanalarm about the damage of red meat to health, now downsized ». It is well known that red meat it is only the abuse that hurts. "The calf in particular it is a very important food for her high protein content with high biological value ”, explains the nutritionist Simona Santini. «It also contains essential minerals for the proper functioning of the metabolism, and vitamin B12, essential for the nervous system. And then iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, allies for the health of bones and teeth. In addition, compared to beef it is much leaner ».
Traced from stable to table
And it is also healthier than in the past. «The meat supply chain is one of the flagships of the country's agri-food sector», assures Tomei. "A state-of-the-art control system allows you to trace a slice from the stable to the plate, just look at the relevant code displayed in the butcher's shop ».
From those numbers anyone can trace the history of a bovine, knowing where he was born and raised, what he ate, who took him to the supermarket and how he turned into a fine cut. "Medical checks are rigorous and mandatory. Drugs, antibiotics included, they are given only under strict medical supervision, as needed and never within 90 days of slaughter to ensure that no trace remains in the meat. The die is also the result of European controls, today very stringent, and responds to the motto One Health, unique health: the welfare of the animals we eat, that is, it reflects on ours and for this we must have the same attention », concludes the expert.
The feeds are natural
Also power calves, which decades ago had come under fire for the use of hormones that quickly fatten the meat, today it is treated differently. "THE feeds are natural and often derive from an integrated supply chain, that is, they are produced on the same farm that raises the animals and they are also tracked ”, explains Tomei.
«If an extra-European feed arrives contaminated by GMOs, for example, it is immediately discovered. Nutrition data shows that nutrition has improved: the meat produced today contains half the saturated fat of 20 years ago».
The most ecological choice
The country's veal is also largely sustainable. Grass fed pastures, those in which the animals are free to graze with the herd and take the milk from the mother who ruminates the grass, are still the minority and produce few animals a year. "Most of the farms in the village are still of the" confined "type, that is, the animals stay in enclosed spaces but are fed in a controlled manner". They don't exist with us large intensive farms, those of the huge American-style industrial stables, responsible for most of the emissions CO2 in the atmosphere and deforestation in Amazon. In the country most of the breeders are small farms. Because of this choose a local meat it is the first step to have a healthy product not only for us but also for the planet.
So it tastes better
- Choose the cut for every need: rump, knots and magatello for short cooking, staple and neck for longer ones, walnut and rump for tartare and raw ham.
- The color must always be pink, the fine grain and the visible fat absent.
- Leave it in the box or in the butcher's wrapper and keep it in the coldest part of the fridge for 2 or 3 days maximum. In the freezer for no more than 9 months tightly closed (before cooking, let it defrost in the fridge).
- Do not cook it cold from the fridge, softness is at stake. Bring it to room temperature. To turn it while cooking, use the tongs. With a fork you risk pricking it and letting out the juices that keep it soft.