We are often asked by our guests to recommend our favorite Tuscan dishes. Here are a few tasty treats not to be missed while you are with us during a creative workshop or tour of Tuscany. We are certain that you will enjoy the many delights of Tuscan cuisine during your stay with us.
Pappa al Pomodoro - Tuscan bread tomato soup that is comfort food at its best. It is classically rustic and super yummy.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Tuscan T-bone Steak that is favored as the best steak on our planet by many. This is the Tuscan version of the American “black and blue” method of grilling steak. It is seared on both sides briefly and is rare throughout. When ordering, ask for “Florentina”, but only in a restaurant. Otherwise, you will be asking for a woman from Florence!
Castagnaccio – Chestnut cake that is found in the fall when chestnuts are in season
Ribollita- A winter soup that is eaten the day after it is prepared. All the flavors have the chance to think about each other” as my grandmother would say. Its base is Tuscan bread and it typically includes loads of veggies, such as potatoes, cabbage, kale and cannellini beans.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Tuscany is one of the largest producers in the world of this manna from heaven.
Harvest time is in November when the olives are picked by hand and immediately pressed. The taste is pungent and fruity. This is the olive oil that has only been treated by washing and filtration before it is bottled, with no added fillers. Here’s a little cultural tip: Italians don’t dip bread in olive oil. You will see it happening in restaurants and at Le Casacce, but it is generally not done and is only served at the request of the diner. The Italian way to eat bread with olive oil is by ordering Fettunta (“an oily slice”) which is bread toasted after being rubbed with garlic. The olive oil is poured over the bread after toasting.
Crostini- the Tuscan starter, this is bread spread with pate, typically chicken liver, but also with other sauces and garnishes.
Risotto- this dish is perfectly made in Tuscany. We have our favorites:
Risotto con Zucca e Funghi Porcini (Pumpkin and Porcini Mushrooms)
Risotto con Verdure di Stagione (Vegetables and Cheese)
Risotto alla Milanese con Ossobuco (Saffron and Braised Veal)
Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (Fish, Shrimp, Mussels and herbs)
Lampredotto Panino – the poor man’s sandwich of Tuscany, found abundantly in food stalls around Florence. Beef is cooked in water with tomato, onion, parsley and celery. The bread used is dipped in the broth before serving.
Pecorino Cheese- cheese made from sheep’s milk, you can have it your way, either plain or herbed. You can also choose the amount of time that it is aged. This is one of the many reasons that we love going to Pienza which is Pecorino Cheese Heaven.
Truffles - Any dish that ends in Tartufo- truffle on anything is heavenly! There is even Gelato Tartufo for dessert! Truffles are close kin to mushrooms and come in two varieties, black and white (very rare). Tuscany is blessed to have both kinds. Tuscan tortelli with truffle and mushrooms is a favorite of ours cooked by Enrico.
Gelato- It would be a sin to leave Tuscany without having had gelato, or several servings if you are smart. There is a big difference in gelato and ice cream. Gelato is made with a greater proportion of whole milk to cream, so it contains less fat. The flavor of gelato is more intense, because of the lower amount of fat. (This means you can have more!) It is also churned at a slower speed than ice cream so it is much denser.
These Tuscan specialties are the beginning of a very long list of favorites. What dishes would you add? Join us in Tuscany and discover your personal Tuscan cuisine picks during a tour of Tuscany or a workshop in Tuscany hosted by Tuscan Muse!