Tuscan Food Top Ten

» Posted

Wthe best thing you should eat, what is absolutely a must try, and what is typically Tuscan. While you are traveling through Tuscany, nobody tells you which are the dishes you absolutely must have prior to departing to go back home.

It is essential that you have an idea of the main courses that are relevant in the Tuscan culinary tradition. The following ten entrees are the must try dishes while in Tuscany. Remember to always try the original recipe by visiting only typically Tuscan restaurants. Many cooks try different kinds of variations on the theme to reinvent recipes and make them theirs. However, the delicate equilibrium of flavors that characterizes these simple recipes can easily suffer from an ill-thought variation.

Cacciucco Livorno Style
It is a stwed fish soup, delicious and especially indicated during summer months. Lightly spicy and very nutritious, it was born as the humble fishermen staple. For this reason the recipe requires the less prestigious fish varieties.

Ribollita
Another soup, a winter must-try. Ribollita is another dish of humble origins, utilizing the leftovers of prior meals, readily available vegetables and stale bread. Once it is in front of you add a twirl of raw olive oil and pieces of red onion on top, it is the very Tuscan way to enjoy it. Only ask for the original ribollita, as some restaurants only serve a vegetable soup with bread.

Malfatti or Gnudi
Stunningly delicious and simple. Little dumplings of fresh ricotta cheese, egg and spinaches, held together by a dusting of flour. They melt in your mouth and are extremely light and nutritious at the same time. It is a first entry.

Ravioli Maremmani
Filled pasta is a Tuscan culinary staple. Eaten during special days, it is made of two very thin layers of egg pasta filled with fresh ricotta and spinach. The best way to eat them is with sage and butter in order to taste the real essence of the pasta.

Bollito Misto
An ancient dish, for once an heritage of the wealthy and powerful. It is a composition of the best meat cuts boiled with spices and eaten with sauces such as agresto. The peasant version is the lesso, made of second choice meat pieces. Both are winter dishes and are usually eaten around Christmas time.

Acquacotta
The Maremma area has crafted this delicious dish that is hard to find in restaurants. Go to the south of Tuscany to taste it as it should be. Healthy and nutritious it is a culinary surprise.

Pappa al Pomodoro
The classic of the classics. You cannot leave Tuscany without having tried pappa al pomodoro. The two main variations are those of Siena and Florence, although many prefer the Sienese version, simpler and delicious. Wherever you find yourself, seek for it.

Panzanella
This is a summer dish, almost impossible to find in colder months. Who would have thought that simply mixing wet stale bread with red tomatoes, basil, red onion and olive oil could make such a delicious first entry? It must be done by expert hands, however, so only try it in recommended restaurants.

Tripe and Lampredotto
I won’t lie to you, these are made of the stomachs of the cow. But you will not realize it. There are people coming to Tuscany, especially Florence, solely to enjoy them at their best. They are a common street food, so look out for a sandwich stand that serves them.

Titamisù
Every food list should end with a dessert, and I do not know of a better one for the end of a top ten Tuscan foods list. Tiramisù was invented in Siena in the Renaissance, and its popularity has spread all over the world. No need to eplain to you what it is, but you should try it in Tuscay, as this dessert also is one of the most wildly reinvented ones, often completely misunderstanding its frail balance of tastes, completely spoiling the result.