This is a region where “La Dolce Vita” springs to mind as you look around at the wonderful landscape of olive groves, rolling hillsides blanketed in grape vines, lazy sheep idylly lolling about and smell the fragrant herbs that feature in many of the regions fantastic dishes. Tuscan cuisine is simple and uses products dictated by the seasons. Olive oil is highly prized and is used generously in cooking, salads and even just to dip chunks of crusty bread into. Many dishes are based around the profusion of vegetables grown in the area such as asparagus, fennel, peas, artickoes and wild mushrooms. White truffles are found in late autumn and can be found in risottos, pasta dishes and meat dishes. Meats include duck, rabbit, venison, pheasant, pork, wild boar and beef, the Chianina cattle are one of the world’s oldest breeds of cattle and also one of the largest, it is from these that we get the wonderful beef for the “bistece all fiorentina“, from Florence, a simple , thick beef T-bone steak cooked to perfection over coals. Tuscany produces many home-made sausages including those made with wild boar. Roast suckling pig or “porchetta” flavoured with rosemary and sage and having a crispy crackling served with pane.

Toscana is a simple yet gastronomic delight with ingredients such as game, fowl, pork and fish here are grown figs, chestnuts and pomegranates, what a wonderful selection of good foods from which one can create the best of dishes. Other dishes include pappardelle flat noodles served with a rich sauce and game, fritto misto, small bites of meats and vegetables dusted with flour and lightly fried, and Ribollita. Ribollita is a traditionally a Tuscan peasant dish and is a thick soup made from left overs, vegetables, beans and even bread go into this soup and then it is reheated as the name translates.

The simple way of grilling over hot coals is also reflected in the regions “bruschetta” the bread is drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with garlic, grilled and topped with a variety of simple but tasty toppings such as tomatoes, mushrooms or a sprinkle of cheese. The much coveted white truffle grows readily in San Miniato in October and November and is used to flavour risottos and oils. Beans are also a great favourite and many households have their own recipes handed down through the generations using the Barlotti beans and Cannellini beans which grow in nearly every vegetable garden. Regional cheeses are Pecorino Toscano and the soft cow’s milk Tendaio and the Accasciato cheese which is a mixture of sheep and cow’s milk.

Desserts of the region include “panforte“, a chewy, rich, Christmas cake from Sienna containing fruits, nuts and spices,”ricciarelli“, almond biscuits and “cavallucci” rustic, little, round cookies often given as gifts on special occasions, they contain honey, almonds, candied lemon and orange and spices. Cantucci, almond biscotti, are made here in Tuscany by hand and are the perfect accompaniment to a small glass of Vino Santo, a strong and very sweet wine, as the ideal finish to a delicious meal.

The most famous of all the wines of Tuscany is undoubtedly Chianti, well known world-wide.

List of Italian DOCG wines of Tuscany

  • Brunello di Montalcino (Rosso as normale and Riserva), produced in the province of Siena
    Carmignano (Rosso as normale and Riserva), produced in the provinces of Firenze and Prato
    Chianti (Rosso as normale and Riserva), produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Firenze, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena; with the option to indicate one of the sub-regions:Classico as normale and Riserva, produced in the provinces of Firenze and Siena
    Colli Aretini as normale and Riserva produced in the province of Arezzo
    Colli Senesi as normale and Riserva, produced in the province of Siena
    Colli Fiorentini as normale and Riserva, produced in the province of Firenze
    Colline Pisane as normale and Riserva, produced in the province of Pisa
    Montalbano as normale and Riserva, produced in the provinces of Firenze, Pistoia and Prato
    Montespertoli as normale and Riserva, produced in the province of Pisa
    Rufina as normale and Riserva, produced in the province of Firenze
    Chianti Superiore, produced throughout the Chianti region with the exception of the classico sub-region.
    Morellino di Scansano (Rosso as normale and Riserva), produced in the province of Grosseto
    Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Bianco as normale and Riserva), produced in the province of Siena
    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Rosso as normal and Riserva), produced in the province of Siena

List of Italian DOC wines of Tuscany

  • Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario produced in the province of Grosseto
    Barco Reale di Carmignano produced in the provinces of Firenze and Prato
    Bianco della Valdinievole produced in the province of Pistoia
    Bianco dell’Empolese produced in the provinces of Firenze and Pistoia
    Bianco di Pitigliano produced in the province of Grosseto
    Bianco Pisano di San Torpè produced in the province of Pisa
    Bianco Vergine della Valdichiana produced in the provinces of Arezzo and Siena
    Bolgheri produced in the province of Livorno
    Candia dei Colli Apuani produced in the province of Massa-Carrara
    Capalbio produced in the province of Grosseto
    Colli dell’Etruria Centrale produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Firenze, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena
    Colli di Luni an inter-regional DOC produced in the provinces of Massa-Carrara (Toscana) and of La Spezia (Liguria)
    Colline Lucchesi produced in the province of Lucca
    Cortona produced in the province of Arezzo
    Elba produced in the province of Livorno
    Maremma Toscana produced in the province of Grosseto
    Montecarlo produced in the province of Lucca
    Montecucco produced in the province of Grosseto
    Monteregio di Massa Marittima produced in the province of Grosseto
    Montescudaio produced in the provinces of Livorno and Pisa
    Morellino di Scansano produced in the province of Grosseto
    Moscadello di Montalcino produced in the province of Siena
    Orcia produced in the province of Siena
    Parrina produced in the province of Grosseto
    Pomino produced in the province of Firenze
    Rosso di Montalcino produced in the province of Siena
    Rosso di Montepulciano produced in the province of Siena
    San Gimignano produced in the province of Siena
    Sant’Antimo produced in the province of Siena
    Sovana produced in the province of Grosseto
    Val d’Arbia produced in the province of Siena
    Val di Cornia produced in the provinces of Livorno and Pisa
    Vin Santo del Chianti produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Firenze, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena
    Vin Santo del Chianti Classico produced in the provinces of Firenze and Siena
    Vin Santo di Montepulciano produced in the province of Siena
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