When you discover Tuscany for a romantic or family vacation, in addition to choosing a cottage in Tuscany, for example, or another type of vacation rental (Villa, castleclosed Agriturismo Where apartment), if there is a subject not to be treated lightly, it is the traditional regional cuisine ! During your trip, you will enjoy yourself!
Tuscan cuisine in history
Tuscan cuisine is mainly made up of traditional dishes and desserts that have been made for centuries.
Bread without salt, for example, is a custom that few other regions have adopted. It seems that the custom dates back to the 12th century. At the height of the rivalry between Pisa and Florence, the Pisans sold the precious culinary ingredient at a high price. There is also a hypothesis that the lords of Florence themselves imposed particularly heavy taxes on salt.
Another characteristic of Tuscan cuisine is the use of white meat and game. Farm products, where chickens, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl and pigeons peck freely, rabbits and game such as hare and wild boar, pheasant and porcupine have always been on the menu of the great feasts. Pork is also widely used, just think of the famous salami and other special products made by the ingenuity of the poor people.
Among the cheeses, tradition focuses on the hard pecorino: the most famous are Pienza and Maremma; while we find ricotta among the soft cheeses.
Finally, there is plenty of room for desserts like cantuccini di Prato. Nothing to complain about, when your stay in guest house will finally arrive, you'll have no shortage of ideas in the kitchen 🙂
A simple and local cuisine
Tuscan cuisine is characterized by the multiplicity of recipes and culinary traditions, especially with regard to the territory to which it belongs and the family tradition. Many Florentines traditionally go on vacation to the Tyrrhenian coast, to the area of Viareggio and to the island of Elba; however, they are often unaware of the existence of local dishes, which they discover during their vacations. For this reason, many authors propose the expression "Tuscan cuisine" in the plural to better illustrate this reality.
Over time, middle-class cuisine has only found its place in the last few centuries; it is distinguished by the increasing use of white meat or game in rural areas, typical of a wealthy middle class, as opposed to the systematic use of beef in urban areas, where the middle class has developed. The consumption of game remains typical of rural and mountainous areas, where Tuscans like to go on vacation or vacation.
As mentioned before, the cuisine differs considerably from the coast to the interior of the country: the growth of the wild boar population has allowed the use of all its preparations almost everywhere. In Tuscany, as in many other parts of the country, the selected meat is treated with salt, pepper and other spices and kept hanging in cool and dry environments.
On the other hand, freshwater fish are in the same situation as poultry: present during the last centuries on the tables of the poorest and least developed regions, they have their own culinary tradition. Consumed by the poorest strata of the population, they owe them the almost ubiquitous method of cooking with vegetables.
Strangely enough, it is with regard to vegetables that the differences are accentuated: chickpea flour is used almost exclusively on the coast, while, inexplicably, chestnut flour is also used outside the mountain areas. Spelt, an omnipresent Etruscan food, has been cultivated only in the north for many centuries and gives typical dishes such as spelt soup. Until a few decades ago, corn was massively present in central Tuscany, and polenta was rather consumed in the mountains because of its low cost.
As for the production of cheeses, diverse and varied, it extends throughout the region.
The Tuscany Food Pyramid
An interesting initiative is the "Tuscany Food Pyramid": it is the first and only existing initiative to decline the products and habits necessary for a correct diet in a regional context, in accordance with the cultural characteristics and food traditions of the region. The pyramid provides simple and proven indications, respectful of cultural, agricultural and gastronomic traditions, useful to enable everyone to live in good health.
Researchers and scientists have selected certain products according to their organoleptic characteristics, their variety and their authenticity, their typicality, the proximity between the place of production and the place of consumption.
The result is the Tuscan food pyramid, in six levels which include, from bottom to top:
- Fruits and vegetables, ubiquitous in the kitchen
- Cereals and extra virgin olive oil
- Legumes, dried fruits, milk and yogurt
- Fish and Poultry
- Cheese, eggs and potatoes
- Finally, in less quantity at the top of the pyramid, meat, charcuterie and desserts
All washed down with an excellent Tuscan wine, and water at will!
You understand that your holidays in Tuscany won't be sad! A quiet cottage in the countryside, near cities of Art like Siena and Florence, a local trattoria that offers you this magnificent cuisine and an excellent wine to savor it all: isn't life beautiful?