Fassone Beef Alba – video

There isn’t a beef quite like Fassone race and it is the signature of piedmont Italy just as Chianina is to Tuscany. In fact Alba in Piedmont is a small town known for its culture and wine and is protected by Unesco heritage.

One of the hardest foods to find in piedmont are salads, and if you travel here make sure you are not a vegetarian otherwise you’ll starve. Traditionally Fassone are raised on small farms with up to 25 animals and each farmer knows his stock from the beginning of its life to the end.

So what makes the piemontese cow so different from lets say Angus. For many consumers the measure of tenderness in beef is the presence of fat called marbling—in the meat. USDA beef grading scale depends largely on measuring not actual tenderness, but the presence of marbling. But beef tenderness is a complex trait that results from a multiplicity of factors, of which marbling is only one.

Piedmontese ranked as most tender followed by Pinzgauer and Hereford out of 11 breeds compared in the USDA-MARC GermPlasm Evaluations. USDA studies that report that, while Piedmontese cattle have the least amount of fat, they’re nonetheless the most tender.

Piedmontese beef is meat from cattle having one or two copies of the inactive myostatin gene. This attribute provides a higher lean-to-fat ratio, as well as less marbling with less connective tissue than meat from cattle having the “active” version of the gene. The active-myostatin gene acts as a “governor” on muscle growth; myostatin is a protein that instructs muscles to stop growing. In effect, when inactive, as it is with Piedmontese cattle, it no longer prevents muscle development which is what allows for the hypertrophic condition sometimes referred to as “double muscling”. /wikipedia/

Fassone also have calpain, a calcium-dependent protease, has been recognized as a key player in postmortem tenderization of skeletal muscle. The calpain system, and its inhibitor, calpastatin, is believed to be the primary proteolytic enzyme system involved in postmortem tenderization of aged beef and indicated that the degradation of structural muscle proteins by calpain is responsible for meat tenderization during postmortem storage of meat. /source Koohmaraie/

The Piedmontese breed are prized for it’s noticeably heavy musculature, the Piedmontese breed’s unique genetic composition means that these cattle naturally develop a significantly greater muscle mass compared to conventional cattle. At the same time, muscle fibers remain tender without the need for excess marbling and are tender.

These full blood cattle are a breed only in one small geographic area that includes Piemonte and the alpine region in north-west of Italy. This breed is well-known not only for its high quality meat, but also for its milk cheeses. Although I am not a fan of the local cheese I prefer goat which is far better: https://mesubim.com/2014/10/29/crazy-blue-cheese-piemontese/ and then there is a cheese much less sharp and found in the foothills of the Langhe:http://www.turismodoc.it/Cascina-Pistone/

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The beef consistency and cooking is effected by both the beef’s mass and fat content. Piedmontese beef is much lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than conventional beef and usually takes 50% less time to cook when compared with American beef. But you find it in most cases hand cut battuta it’s referred to. Piedmonte meat “battuta”, is veal meat finely chopped with a knife, not minced and served raw with virgin oil and accompanied by small condiments.

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Piedmontese beef is genetically lower in fat than most other breeds and has the lowest fat thickness and the greatest tenderness as tested on the Warner Bratzler Shear Force test: an initiative to standardize the protocol for Warner-Bratzler shear force determinations was identified at the National Beef Tenderness Plan Conference in April, 1994. The purpose of this protocol is to allow for consistent collection of Warner-Bratzler shear force determinations across institutions for comparative evaluation. A more tender piece of meat would require less force, while a tougher piece would require more. /wikipedia/

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But Fassone meat is very sweet and clean and is similar to tuna with less fat than boneless chicken. It has a long taste and isn’t filled with sinew that gets caught in your teeth because the butcher is careful when cutting it. Fassone eat grass and during the summer they roam up the mountains to feed. These animals are truly amazing and once you taste it, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Fassone beef is often used as a background for flavours such as truffles and its the perfect match.