Tuscan cuisine

Tuscan food is certainly a source of pride for Italy and is one of the main references known abroad. Many say that this region has a genuine way of life with respect to food and traditions which are closely linked. Bear in mind, also, that usually Tuscan recipes rely on local products, simplicity and even poverty in their preparation. Tuscans go in search of authenticity and local products in local areas and Tuscan dishes that are handed down from typical Tuscan farmhouses and countryside people. Do not forget that wine is an additional reason to venture to Tuscany to fully appreciate it! The Tradition of Tuscan wine was born from its hills and it is a symbol of prestige worldwide and a fantastic destination for a wine tour in Chianti full of good humor and in the company of the finest Tuscan wines!

Thus, the typical Tuscan dishes are based on a balance of flavours where each ingredient is enhanced and used without being 'covered' by sauces or spices. The origins of Tuscan cuisine go back to Etruscan times, the first people of the region, of which there are signs of use of food in a poor and very simple way (for example, they used to cook chicken only on hot bricks!).

The typical cuisine of Tuscany has been carried on through a variety of famous dishes, others are related to the art cities, whereas others belong to the world of grandmothers (undisputed and unattainable cooks!), Other Tuscan dishes are present during certain holidays and on special occasions. We at toscanainside.com would like to guide you through this huge panorama of rich flavours and traditions.

Starting from appetizers of Tuscan cuisine we suggest you taste black crostini prepared with chicken liver and served on slices of 'sciocco’ Tuscan bread as it is a fundamental element of family tradition in this region! If you like cold savouries there are no shortage of platters accompanied by schiacciata (focaccia with oil), bruschetta with beans and, if you are in Florence, coccoli (fried pizza dough).Do you find them appetising?

Among the variety of traditional Tuscan food you may have heard of Florentine steak or a thick rib cut of beef. Besides the quality of the meat, it is important that it is cooked on a grill, rare and simply seasoned with a little olive oil, Tuscan coarse salt and pepper. The apparent simplicity of this dish makes it an indicator of classic Tuscan dishes! We suggest you enjoy at least one of them, perhaps in a country fair, and with the great Tuscan wine of Chianti!

You will find that typical Tuscan food often includes meat and vary according to the location. Among the pasta dishes you'll often find that they are made with venison, wild boar, deer, or hare. However, Tuscan cucine recipes also provides space at the table for vegetarians with many soups made with kale, pappa al pomodoro and ribollita (made with Tuscan bread). In particular, black cabbage is often used during the winter in rustic Tuscan cuisine and original typical Tuscan dishes such as grilled peasant (with polenta, corn meal) and slices of toasted bread and flavoured with garlic. During the summer months Tuscany foods include panzanella (bread with vinegar and fresh vegetables), the potato ravioli (Mugello or Casentino) and fried courgette flowers!

If you travel to different locations in Tuscany you will find recipes that represent the specific tradition of each city or area. For example: in Florence you can taste the lampredotto (a sandwich made with offal), schiacciata alla fiorentina (homemade cake) and cibreo  (chicken inners cooked with egg); if you visit Siena you must try one of the characteristic cakes especially during Christmas (Ricciarelli and panforte); in Lucca you should order a piece of neccio cake (cake made with chestnut flour); in Pisa you should try cee (blind eels!) and coi bischeri cake (made with rice and chocolate); and another classic Tuscan food to try that was created in Prato are the classic biscuits called cantuccini best accompanied with Vin Santo after a meal; in Livorno you can enjoy the real cacciucco (fish soup) or the baccalà (made with dried cod); in Viareggio, we suggest that you have lunch on the waterfront and enjoy delicious Tuscany food of frittura alla viareggina. Are you hungry yet for some Tuscan food specialities?

In areas where there are natural parks and mountains, there are of course other ancient and typical Tuscan dishes such as buglione (tomato sauce) and l’acqua cotta (bread and vegetable soup); in Maremma, the potato ravioli and steamed wild boar; in Casentino, try goat cheese in the Pistoia mountains. Every region has its Tuscan food history. There are many curiosities of food in Tuscany, such as  zuccotto (cake with ricotta cheese) which originates in the Florence area. It was called ‘elmo di Caterina’ (Caterina's helmet) in honour of the Medici family who appreciated its fresh and flavoured taste .

At this point, in addition to Tuscan food, recipes and cakes, maybe you're wondering what you can drink in Tuscany! Therefore, the best way is to choose a food and wine tour of Chianti from Florence and discover the most beautiful wineries where you can also do tastings. You will have fun to learn the difference between Chianti Classico and Riserva, you should also try to taste Brunello di Montalcino to understand which you prefer! If instead, you would like to go on a day trip to Siena and San Gimignano you should sample Vernaccia in a typical tavern in the Tuscan villages!

Some of the best wines in Tuscany include Morellino di Scansano produced in the province of Grosseto, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Carmignano which are typical of the Florence and Prato area. Aleatico Passito is perfect as a dessert wine made exclusively on Elba Island (if you are travelling through Livorno you should find it) or if you prefer more classic wine then you could choose a Vin Santo del Chianti (especially in areas of Siena, Arezzo and Florence) that fits perfectly with almond biscuits and traditional cakes. Beware, its sweet and velvety taste creates a certain dependency! Of these best wines in Tuscany you will find a difference in price and quality depending on the companies that produce them.  

During your Tuscan food and wine vacation you should experience the endless variety of Tuscan food specialities and local wines. By starting from the ancient traditional Tuscan food and recipes, you will experience tasty memories linked to places rich in history and beauty.

If you want to understand the secrets and preparations of the most famous Tuscan dishes, why not try a Tuscan cooking class in Florence, the city of the Medici and its typical Tuscan cuisine! You can enjoy a unique and fun time to learn the main concepts of traditional Tuscan food recipes and maybe some secret tips! Then you could have some guests at home and offer some typical Tuscan dishes with which to drink the Nobile di Montepulciano that you bought during your specialised winery tour. Also remember that  Tuscan bread is always a winner on the table!

Do not forget that ... 'who goes to bed without dinner, has an unsettled night'!