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Four native varieties, threatened with extinction, are listed in the Ark of Taste.

gallina bionda Piemontese and gallina Bianca di Saluzzo: local white chicken, nicknamed the bianca di Cavour after Piedmont's famous food-loving prime minister.

gallina padovana: rare but very cute ornamental chicken with a rock 'n' roll coiffure, with a meat similar to guinea fowl. They are sometimes cooked in a pig's bladder, similar to the French poularde en vessie.

gallo nero della Val di Vara: giant black chickens raised in the province of Genoa, reaching up to 6.5 kg. The gallo nero is also the symbol of Chianti Classico wine.

pollo del Valdarno: The poulet de Bresse of Italy, a big white breed developed around Arezzo and famous for its tasty meat and large breast.

chicken parts:

petto / breast

ala / wing

dorso / back

fuso / leg

sovracoscia / thigh. Thigh and leg together are the coscia

also: fegatini (chicken livers), durelli (gizzards)

some chicken dishes:

involtini di pollo: stuffed chicken breast

pollo alla cacciatora: this world famous dish had its origins in Tuscany. Besides red wine, tomatoes and onions, it should have chopped carrots and rosemary, too.

pollo alla Demidoff: with carrots, celery, truffles, artichokes; also used for pheasant. Named after a 19th-century Russian general who settled in Florence, and lent his name to a piazza.

pollo alla Marengo: once-popular dish said to have been invented by Napoleon's chef Dunant after the famous battle (in Piedmont, 1800), making use of whatever he could find—lemon, porcini, prawns, tomatoes, eggs and little toasts.

pollo alla potentina: braised in wine, with onions, tomatoes and basil.

pollo alla romana: stewed in tomatoes, green peppers and garlic.

pollo alla valdostana: chicken breasts browned and covered with prosciutto and fontina cheese in a white wine sauce.

pollo casereccio alla Cioranese: seasoned and roasted on a wood fire in a terracotta oven according to a traditional recipe from Ciorani near Salerno (Campania).

pollo in putacchio: braised chicken from the Marche.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: foodswinesofspain