Under the Tuscan Sun: A Gourmand’s Guide to the Region
Ah, Tuscany—a region that needs no introduction for lovers of Italian culture, cuisine and landscapes. Nestled in the heart of Italy, Tuscany is renowned for its rolling vineyards, charming mediaeval towns and, of course, its extraordinary food. In this guide, we'll take you on a culinary journey through Tuscany, exploring its traditional dishes, must-visit restaurants and some exciting activities to enjoy while you're there.
What to Eat in Tuscany
Tuscany's cuisine is a delicious reflection of its rustic charm and the region’s bountiful produce. Here are some traditional Tuscan dishes that you simply can't miss:
Pappa al Pomodoro: This hearty tomato and bread soup embodies the essence of Tuscan cuisine. Made with ripe tomatoes, leftover bread, olive oil and fragrant herbs like basil and garlic, it's a comforting and flavorful dish.
Ribollita: Another delightful bread-based dish, ribollita, is a vegetable and bean soup enriched with bread and often served with a drizzle of olive oil. It's a rustic Tuscan classic that warms the soul.
Pici Pasta: A thicker, hand-rolled pasta, pici, is often paired with rich, savoury sauces like wild boar ragu or a simple-yet-exquisite garlic and olive oil dressing.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina: For meat lovers, this iconic Florentine T-bone steak is a must-try. Grilled to perfection, seasoned with olive oil and rosemary and served rare, it's an absolute delight.
Where to Eat in Tuscany
When it comes to dining in Tuscany, you are truly spoiled for choice. Here are some renowned restaurants that promise an unforgettable culinary experience:
Osteria Francescana (Modena): While not located in Tuscany, Osteria Francescana deserves a mention. As one of the top-rated restaurants in the world, this three Michelin-starred establishment is just a short drive away from Tuscany and offers a unique fusion of traditional and avant-garde Italian cuisine. Once there, you must try ‘The Crunchy Part Of The Lasagne’!
Trattoria Cammillo (Florence): A charming family-run trattoria, Cammillo serves authentic Tuscan dishes in a cosy atmosphere. Don't miss their ribollita and pappa al pomodoro.
La Bottega del Buon Caffè (Florence): This Michelin-starred restaurant in Florence marries contemporary flair with Tuscan tradition. Their tasting menu includes foie-gras crème brûlée with red-onion ice cream and a rack of venison that is a must-try!
Antica Trattoria da Tito (Florence): A beloved Florentine institution, Tito's is famous for its Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a Tuscan Italian steak dish, and warm hospitality. If you were to ask us what the top recommendations are, we know you’d be totally spoiled for choice because their desserts, pastas, cheeses and wines are absolutely top notch!
While You're in Tuscany
Tuscany offers more than just culinary delights. Here are some activities and experiences to enhance your visit:
Wine Tasting in Chianti: A trip to Tuscany wouldn't be complete without savouring its world-famous wines. The Chianti region, in particular, is renowned for its Sangiovese grapes. You must visit the local wineries for tastings and tours when in Tuscany.
Explore Florence: The capital of Tuscany, is a treasure trove of art, history and culture. Marvel at Michelangelo's David, stroll across the Ponte Vecchio and get lost in the narrow streets of the historic centre.
Tuscan Cooking Classes: Embrace the essence of Tuscan cuisine by taking a cooking class. Learn how to make fresh pasta, sauces and other traditional dishes from local chefs.
Visit Siena: This mediaeval gem is famous for its stunning Piazza del Campo and the annual Palio di Siena horse race. Wander through its winding streets and savour gelato in the sun-soaked square.
Hike in the Cinque Terre: While not technically in Tuscany, the picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre are a short train ride away. Hike along the rugged coastline and indulge in seafood pasta by the sea.
Tuscany, with its delectable traditional dishes, renowned restaurants and captivating activities, promises an unforgettable Italian adventure. From savouring rich and hearty soups to biting into a perfectly grilled Florentine steak, Tuscany's culinary landscape will tantalise your taste buds and leave you craving more.
But Tuscany is not just about food; it's a region rich in culture, history and natural beauty. Whether you're exploring the art-filled streets of Florence or sipping Chianti in the vineyards of the countryside, Tuscany offers a multifaceted experience that will leave you with cherished memories of this enchanting Italian region. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey through Tuscany's flavours, landscapes and traditions—you won't be disappointed.