Everyone loves Italian food, but what if I said there isn’t? It is true that there is only Italian regional food in Italy. Every region has its own unique cuisines, based on their long history and geographical location. The world-famous Tuscany cuisine is no exception.
We are all familiar with Tuscan cuisine, which is known for its fresh produce and meats, as well as its simplicity and seasonality. Let’s now take a closer look at traditional Tuscan food.
What’s Tuscan cuisine?
Tuscan cuisine is inspired by the Italian concept of Cucina Povera or “poor cooking”. It’s a simple, inexpensive recipe that can be prepared in large quantities. It is largely unchanged today, but it is based on choice rather than economy. Because they aren’t necessary, Tuscan cuisine doesn’t require complicated seasonings and elaborate creations. It uses fresh, high-quality ingredients to bring out the natural flavors of each dish, no matter how simple.
Tuscany is a great place to eat. The gentle hills of the region are the ideal source for local produce. The traditional Tuscan cuisine is hearty and uses simple ingredients, such as bread beans and roasted pork.
You can live a local lifestyle by foraging for truffles and mushrooms, or tasting authentic Tuscan olive oil.
What are some of the most loved Tuscan dishes?
Tuscany, like any other Italian region, has its own recipes, ingredients and hyper-local food traditions. You can start your meal by ordering antipasto with sliced meats, or Affettati Misti. Or, you can go for something more special and order Crostini di Fegato, thin slices made of lightly toasted bread with chicken liver pate. It’s delicious and healthy, so don’t let the name liver scare you!
Tuscans love their soups. The ribollita is a classic comfort food that serves as a great vegetable and bread soup. Papa Al pomodoro is a tomato soup that’s perfect for winter. In summer, you can try the panzanella which is a cold salad made of bread that has been soaked in balsamic and then mixed with tomatoes, onions, and basil. All of this is topped with olive oils. Check out our post 6 Italian Recipes for Winter Day!
Cannellini beans are another favorite. You can prepare Tuscans in many different ways. They are also known as mangiafagioli orbean eaters. You can try them in a soup such as zuppa di fagioli, or in fagioli all’uccelletto. This is a side dish made with cannellini beans and tomatoes. Our favorite is Fagioli with Salsiccia beans with sausage.
You can also have pasta with the tartufo, a pasta that is covered in truffle sauce. The availability of both black and white truffle varieties is very limited, with only a handful of places in the world. Visitors to Tuscany will be happy to know that both types of truffles are available in the hills. The black varieties are abundant, particularly near Spoleto. While the white variety can be found in San Miniato. Both varieties feature prominently in traditional Tuscan cuisine. You’ll find tartufo versions of almost everything, from balsamic vinegar and pecorino cheese, in both variants.
The pappardelle al lepre,very large egg noodles with strong-sauce wild hare sauce, is another option. There are many Tuscan dishes that feature roasted meats, including wild game like deer, pheasant, and wild boar. These sauces can be used for pasta, or even as the main dish, Il secondo.
Mixed meat platters or wine-braised duck or rabbit make great secondo. However, the Bistecca fiorentina must-try. The large T-bone steak is traditionally from Chiana Valley and weighs in at three to four pounds. This is not a meal you should share with your friend, despite being delicious!
Enjoy your meal with traditional Tuscan cantucci, dipped into vin Santo. Cantucci, also known as biscotti di Prato are sometimes called “biscotti di Prato” because they are made from the Tuscan version of the twice-baked almond cookies. After a delicious meal, you can soften the cookies and cleanse your palate with a glass of vin santo sweet dessert wine. You can also order gelato with truffle shavings for a more rustic and sweet experience.
Wine, of course! Tuscany is a wine country, and it’s impossible to go wrong with one of its incredible wines. Every town has its own wine and it can be difficult to choose. The vino dilla casa is a great choice if you are looking for a Tuscan table wine. You can find out more in our guide to wine-tastings in Tuscany, including our top regions and how you get there.
Montalcino is a classic red wine, and Montepulciano is a lighter version of the Brunello di Montalcino. Montepulciano is another well-respected red wine. It’s slightly more complex and less expensive. Brunello is a better wine than Montepulciano.
Chianti Classico is another Tuscan wine that you will have heard of. It is a versatile wine from central Tuscany. The Chianti Classico, which is located between Florence and Siena in central Tuscany, was the first wine area to be officially designated. It dates back to 1716. Enjoy your meal with a Chianti Classico and the Tuscany flavors in every bite!
For mortadella, cantucci and cantucci, go to Prato or Carmignano. Montalcino is for the wine. Pistoia is the best place to get Tuscan bread and chestnut cakes, or Pienza to enjoy the pecorino sheep’s milk cheese. (Great shopping is another benefit!) Tuscany is a dream destination for foodies, but you don’t need to be a chef to enjoy the delicious treats from Tuscany.
Are your taste buds tingling? Our Day Trip to Tuscany from Rome will give you a taste of Tuscany. We travelled the region searching for the best food and wine to offer you the best day in Tuscany. You can shop for cheese in Pienza, have lunch on the terrace at an organic farm, and then sample Brunello from one of Montalcino’s most famous wineries. This is just the beginning. See our Tuscany Day Trip departing from Rome for more information.