There are three specific breeds of Italian cattle with a distinctive white coat that are recognised under the PGI Vitellone Bianco dell'Appennino Centrale certification. These are the Chianina, Marchigiana and Romagnola cattle, which have inhabited the areas of the Apennine ridge since the Etruscan and Roman civilisations.
Whilst at one time they were used to work the fields or as sacrifices to the gods, they are now mostly farmed for their beef, so much so that they are thought to be one of the most esteemed breeds in the world due to their low-fat and low-cholesterol meat.
Of these, the Romagnola breed deserves special mention: it is considered the best in terms of quantity and quality, whilst also being the most resistant. The beef is characterised by its bright red colour and its fine, compact and supple grain. Savoury and tender on the palate, it is made up of only 2% fat and is rich in iron and essential amino acids.
The certificazione Igp (PGI certification) currently comprises the municipalities and valleys in Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria, Marche, Campania, Abruzzo and Molise.
PGI white steer beef from the central Apennines lends itself well to a variety of cooking techniques and dishes, such as stews or roasts, and may be boiled or grilled.