Tuscan cuisine is one of the most varied and rich of the whole boot.
The gastronomic tradition of the region has very ancient origins: the typical recipes of this territory, in fact, have been handed down for centuries. In spite of the time that has passed, the distinctive traits and elements of every dish have been preserved almost totally unaltered: what is eaten today is still the dish as it was once prepared.
Talking about typical Tuscan dishes is complicated: the region is vast and there are many recipes. They range from the sea, to the mountains, to the hills: the products change according to the area, as well as the dishes. What remains the same, however, is the simplicity of the ingredients and the authenticity and straightforwardness of the preparation.
Eating in Tuscany means taking a dip in the past, rediscovering authentic flavors and fully enjoy the goodness of the unique products of a magnificent territory.
In this article we have selected for you 13 dishes of the Tuscan cuisine to taste absolutely: let’s see them!
1. Tuscan Cold Cuts and Cheeses
Cold cuts, in Tuscany, are the kings of the table. There can be no trip to this region without an aperitif or a real dinner based on these exceptional local products.
Among the cold cuts to be tasted there are:
- Lardo di colonnata. This cured meat is produced in the municipality of Carrara, where the Apuan Alps soar. It is produced with pork lard and aromas. It is left to mature in Carrara marble basins.
- Tuscan Salami. A salami with a delicate taste characterized by a coarsely ground fat part.
- Tuscan raw ham. This ham is characterized by a strong flavor deriving from a long aging and the aromas used to give it an unmistakable scent.
- Finocchiona. This salami has ancient origins and its peculiarity is the use of fennel seeds to flavor and perfume the sausage. It seems that this ingredient was used in the past to make up for the lack of pepper, a spice that was very expensive at the time.
Among cheeses, instead, here is what not to miss:
- Tuscan Pecorino. This cheese is produced with sheep’s milk and is seasoned for a longer or shorter period of time according to the final product desired. Among the most famous is the Pecorino di Pienza.
- Marzolino. This cheese is produced with sheep milk and can be eaten fresh or aged.
- Ricotta. A fresh, low-fat cheese with a sweet taste which can be prepared with cow or sheep milk.
2. Tuscan Crouton
The Tuscan crouton is one of the cornerstones of Tuscan cuisine and is one of the protagonists of the appetizer in this region.
The bread croutons are spread with a soft pate prepared with chicken livers, capers and anchovies.
Typical Tuscan bread is generally a flat bread, without salt, which perfectly accompanies tasty traditional dishes.
Ribollita is one of the oldest dishes of the region.
This soup based on black cabbage and beans takes its name from the custom of eating the soup warmed even in the days following its preparation.
Ribollita is the perfect dish to try in winter to warm you up!
4. Pappa al pomodoro
This is perhaps the dish that, more than any other, has the flavor of the most authentic and genuine Tuscany.
Pappa al pomodoro is a soup made with stale bread, tomatoes, garlic, oil and basil.
Like almost all Tuscan soups, this one was prepared in order to avoid wasting as much as possible: it is for this reason that stale bread was one of the main ingredients of many regional preparations.
Lampredotto is a dish of Tuscan cuisine that may not please everyone, but it is the Florentine street food par excellence.
The stomach of the cow, part of what is commonly called tripe, is cooked in water with tomato, onion, parsley and celery. It is generally served inside a sandwich accompanied by a hot sauce or a green sauce.
Eating lampredotto is really an experience to be had during a visit to the Tuscan capital, perhaps during a walk through the beautiful markets of Florence.
One of the typical Tuscan pastas are pici, a sort of very large spaghetti prepared simply with flour and water.
Pici can be seasoned in different ways, but one of the most interesting recipes is the one with aglione, a very large variety of garlic produced in Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana and now a Slow Food Presidium.
7. Potato Tortelli
This stuffed pasta is typical of the Mugello area.
The filling of potato tortelli is, of course, potatoes together with garlic, parsley and nutmeg.
Panzanella is another typical Tuscan dish that is very old: it was even mentioned by the poet Boccaccio.
This dish is made of stale bread, red onion and basil. The bread is first soaked with water and then seasoned with the other ingredients.
Panzanella is served cold, so it is an excellent dish to taste in summer.
The cecina can be eaten alone or enjoyed in a sandwich that in Livorno takes the name of “5 e 5”.
You can also enjoy this savory pie during a visit to Pisa: it is typical, in fact, of much of the Tuscan coast.
Coccoli are delicious savory pancakes that are perfect to accompany a tasting of Tuscan cold cuts and cheeses.
11. Florentine Steak
The queen of Florence cuisine is the steak. The excellent quality of the local meat, a good cut of the same and a precise cooking make this dish one of the delicacies to be absolutely tasted during a trip to Tuscany.
Remember that Florentine steak is eaten rare: never ask for it well cooked… the chef might get angry!
Typical of Livorno, caciucco is the classic Tuscan fish soup.
The dish comes from the maritime tradition: the fishermen prepared it in order not to waste the less noble fish with low commercial value.
The fish is left to cook over low heat together with tomatoes, red wine and fish broth before being served accompanied by some slices of toasted bread to make a scarpetta.
Finally, we suggest you to end the meal with cantucci, typical Tuscan cookies from Prato. The cookies are prepared with flour, eggs, sugar, honey, butter and shelled almonds and are generally served with Vin Santo, a liqueur wine with sweet and pleasant notes.
These were our suggestions to taste the best dishes of Tuscan cuisine, to taste (almost) all of them, we suggest you to take part in one of our food tours: at the moment we organize them in Pisa and Florence. During the tour you will have the opportunity to discover the beauty of the two Tuscan cities and to taste some of the best traditional dishes.