Travel and food go hand in hand, especially in a country like Italy. One of the joys of travelling through this part of Europe is sampling the array of local products from top to toe of the country. Tuscan cuisine is applauded in many parts of the world for its diet rich in quality meat, fine wines and seasonal produce. From Tuscan bread soup to potato stuffed pasta, there is something for every palate.
Discover the best local dishes of this region in Italy worth tucking into.
A warming bowl of this simple yet filling bread soup is ideal in the cooler months and has a history as a poor man’s dish, yet don’t be deterred. The recipe’s heritage was created as a way to use older dry bread by soaking pieces in a broth mixed with winter vegetables and slowly cooking until the combination has an almost creamy texture. It’s rustic, hearty Tuscan cooking at its best.
This peppery stewed beef dish is another great option for comfort food often served with creamy polenta to mop up the rich sauce that’s laced with local Chianti wine. The recipe hails from the hilltop town of Impruneta, just south of Florence, and some recipes call for slow cooking for up to five hours with a base of diced celery, carrots and onions, plus a vast amount of whole peppercorns for extra spice.
Wild boar is popular meat used in Tuscan dishes, from hearty stews to forming the base of a tasty ragu tossed with thick pappardelle pasta, a primi dish favoured in the area around Siena. You’ll also find cinghiale made into salami’s infused with wine, fennel seeds, or truffle, depending on the season.
Tortelli di Patate
A pasta typical of the Mugello area of Tuscany, situated north of Florence and before reaching Bologna. Large square parcels are stuffed with a mashed potato puree that is then served with a meaty ragu often of minced beef and finished with grated pecorino cheese.
Locals love this tripe sandwich sold from street food carts in Tuscan town centres. Its filling, of cow’s stomach, is slowly boiled in a broth before being served in a panino bun and topped with a sauce, usually a salsa verde, of garlic and parsley and washed down with a glass of red wine, even at 9am.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Meat features heavily in Tuscan cuisine with the regions capital, Florence, is famed for its thick T-bone. This three-fingers thick steak is served one-way only – bloody – by simply being seared on both sides, then lightly seasoned with salt and olive oil. Served with white beans and a side dish of sautéed spinach, it’s a dish made for sharing.