The now (just about) archived mad cow scare across Europe had the effect of increasing the amount of labelling on all Italian meat products - 'Genuine Sicilian', 'Hand-reared Lazio' etc.
In a strange way 'mucca pazza' has been good for typical regional products.
There are many ancient breeds still surviving across Italy and each has strong regional identities.
Those of central Italy have been grouped under the name 'Vitellone Bianco dell'Appennino Centrale' or 'White Veal of the Central Apennines'.
The EU have even labelled them IGP, a protected status mark or 'Indicazione Geografica Protetta'. Just seek out the above logo.
Consorzio Tutela Vitellone Bianco Appennino Centrale
The area of production is actually quite vast and includes the following provinces:
Bologna, Ravenna, Forlì, Rimini, Pesaro, Ancona, Macerata, Ascoli Piceno, Teramo, Pescara, Chieti, L'Aquila, Campobasso, Isernia, Benevento, Avellino, Frosinone, Rieti, Viterbo, Terni, Perugia, Grosseto, Siena, Arezzo, Firenze, Prato, Livorno, Pisa.
The most well known is, of course, the Chianina, an ancient race which has been reared for over 22 centuries in the Tiber and Chiana Valleys in Umbria and Tuscany.
That's almost twice as long as the ancient city of Otranto has existed!
The animal is a distinct porcelain white color and is noted for its huge size. It has a tremendous capacity to adapt to the environment and, of course, the meat is excellent.
The purity of the breed was guaranteed in 1961 when the ANABIC was founded to protect this 'razze bovine autoctone'.
Nevertheless, such loving care is not without reason and do try this recipe for roast veal and cream sauce.
Also discover the farming culture of Umbria close up through Sagrantino wine, olive oil and the rare breed chianina cow.