Tuscany is a beautiful and romantic destination on Italy’s western coast. It is known throughout Italy as a place of culture and history. Visitors come to the area to explore the large cities like Florence, but also to tour the quiet countryside towns throughout Tuscany. Renaissance art, historical landmarks and a friendly population are some of the best reasons to visit the area. Of course, Tuscany is also famous for its cuisine. Not only is it well known for its agricultural history, but it is also home to many artisan food makers and wineries. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany in the future, use this food guide to learn more about the traditional foods in the region, the best wines produced in the area and even the best regional accommodations.
Popular Tuscan Dishes
Italy is known for delicious cuisine, but Tuscany is often considered to be at the heart of that culinary tradition. Tuscan meals focus on simplicity of preparation and boast quality ingredients. In the Tuscan countryside, a typical meal might include the classic peasant soup of ribollita that is full of vegetables or freshly caught wild game like hares, deer or pheasant. A sweet tooth is prevalent in Tuscan natives, as evidenced by delicious desserts like ricciarelli cookies flavored with almonds and honey.
Traditions of Dining
Visitors to Tuscany will immediately be struck by the length of the meals. In sharp contrast to those dinners in America or England that consist of just one filling course, Italian meals prepared in Tuscany have several courses. The meal starts with the antipasti, or appetizer. This might be hot or cold and could be as simple as bruschetta or as elaborate as fois gras salad. The next course is the primi, or first course. Traditionally this is some kind of pasta or rice dish. In Tuscany, it is not uncommon to enjoy a hearty hand-rolled spaghetti dish known as pici. The next course would be the secondi, or main entree. In Tuscany this might be a meat dish made from wild game like boar or elk as a nod to the rustic heritage and culinary traditions. To finish the meal comes dolci, or dessert. A sweet treat like tiramisu or cookies finishes the meal.
Wine in Tuscany
Perhaps the best known export from Tuscany is the wine. The best wine in the region comes from the area of Chianti, home to extensive production of red wine by the same name. Although the taste of Chianti wine will differ slightly among growers and wineries, the taste is very light for a red wine and boasts notes of fruits or berries. Visitors who are interested in wine should plan to visit at least one winery during their stay and participate in a tasting of various local varieties.
Tuscan Food Tours
As an increasing number of people become interested in the incredible food and wine available in Tuscany, an influx of Tuscan food tours has come about. If you are a serious foodie who is more interested in local cheeses that local attractions, then a tour like this might be perfect for you. You can choose to embark on a two week journey of Tuscany that tours the region and stops in at all the best restaurants and markets, or you can simply enjoy a day long cheese or wine tour in the area.
Accommodation in Tuscany
Your accommodation options will vary greatly depending on where in Tuscany you choose to visit. In the city of Florence, hotels and hostels are plentiful. In the countryside, your best choice might be to find a website (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/) that offers luxury villas. Click here to learn more about some of the various holiday homes available for rent.