Travelling through Tuscany, the beautiful region in central Italy, really makes wonder whether you have actually eaten any good food before. When I went to Italy last year to discover the food and drink in the area between Florence and Siena, I already knew quite a lot about Italian food in general, but I was still hoping for a great new experience.
Starting off in Florence, I started off with a voyage following the tracks the Medici left in this fascinating city. After visiting points of interests such as the cathedral, the Ponte Vecchio and the fountain of Neptune, I started to get hungry and decided to go for a quick lunch. I was not at all disappointed. I had “Cosciottod`agnelloall`agro”, which is a piece of lamb, braised in white wine and herbs, served with sautéed vegetables and a glass of red wine. This was a great start to my culinary trip, being able to enjoy the sun and having such amazing food.
Landscape and maybe find a vineyard to taste some more of the regional wine production, the world-famous Chianti in particular. Coming from Florence, I went to Montaione, where I heard about a small, 800 year-old medieval village just a few kilometres to the west. I decided to go there, ending up in Castelfalfi. This village with its beautiful farms all around really gave me an impression of how Tuscany might have looked a few hundred years back. After taking in the atmosphere, I went to one of the farms to stay the night and have a great meal. They served the famous “BisteccaallaFiorentina”, a huge and well-aged steak, cooked directly on hot coals. I was in culinary wonderland. To drink I had a Chianti from a local vineyard, which fit fantastically to the steak. I was so fascinated by food, atmosphere and landscape that I decided to stay a few more days to go hiking and explore a bit more.
Next up I took a trip to the Mediterranean Sea to Livorno to try the sea food offered there. It was great sitting at the harbour, being able to smell the salty breeze and try some of the fish dishes. I started off with “Baccalàallamaremmana”, which is salt cod in a tomato sauce. During the next days I also had “Tonnobriaco” (grilled tuna with white wine), “Cacciucco” (A Tuscan fish soup) and “Scampi al Forno” (Shrimps from the oven). It was great tasting to many different sea food dishes, all having their own tasty nuances.
Afterwards I went to my last stop, which was Siena. Visiting the Church of San Domenico was a must, and I also stopped by at the Piazza Salimbeni, but since I was already hungry again I went for the last meal of my trip. I had a fantastic “Ribollita” (a traditional vegetable soup), accompanied by some “Bruschette” and followed by “PappardellesullaLepre” (Pasta with hare sauce). This was a great finish for my culinary trip through Tuscany, and I have to say that I really recommend it for anyone who wants to try real Italian food, moving away from the classical pizza and pasta. Italy has a lot more to offer, to take your time and discover the Italian “Dolce Vita” with something good to eat and a great glass of wine!