Tuscan Cuisine

fettuntaSaltless bread, orchard vegetables, herbs and the unsurpassed local extra virgin olive oil: the staples of today's Tuscan cuisine shamefacedly betray their traditional country roots!
The most typical appetizer you will find feaured in any Tuscan restaurant menu is chicken liver crostini; or you might try some fettunta (toasted bread with garlic and olive oil), crostoni (toasted bread with a tomato or beans topping and, again, olive oil) or a selection of Tuscan affettati (cured meats).pappa al pomodoro

In Tuscany, typical starters are often bean or bread soups, while pasta is far less popular here than elsewhere in Italy. Tuscan soups may be hot like pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup) and ribollita (vegetable, bean and bread soup), or cold like panzanella (a refreshing soaked-bread Summer salad).

The ultimate Tuscan dish, bistecca alla fiorentina is a feat for red meat fans: it should be about one inch thick and grilled over an open fire. In case you do not like your beef rare, a savory alternative is rosticciana (barbecued pork ribs), maybe sided with a mouth watering platter of verdure rosticcianafritte miste (deep fried courgettes, artichokes, zucchini flowers, sage leaves and more...). For the more daring, a peculiar option maybe be trippa alla fiorentina (braised tripe in tomato sauce), or a casserole of fur or feathered game.

Tuscans are teasingly nicknamed 'mangiafagioli' (bean-eaters) for their widespread use of beans, grown locally in many typical varieties. A very typical Tuscan way of cooking them is placing them in a glass flask over a dying fire until they reach a creamy consistency: in your restaurant menu, the entry for these would spell 'fagioli al fiasco'.
For desserts let a delicious slice of zuccotto (ice-cream sponge cake) spoil you, or dip some rustic cantucci (almond cookies from Prato) in half a glass of sweet or dry Vin Santo (Tuscan sweet wine). Otherwise you may want to wind up your meal with a slice of the local pecorino (sheepsmilk) cheese - ranging from creamy fresh to piquant mature or even flavored (truffle, black pepper, chilli...) - with pears or honey: you'll be amazed!

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Tuscan CookbookLeaves from Our Tuscan KitchenTastes from a Tuscan KitchenA Culinary Traveller in Tuscany: Exploring and Eating Off the Beaten TrackTwelve: A Tuscan Cookbook The Food Lover's Guide to Florence: With Culinary Excursions in TuscanyThe Food Lover's Companion to TuscanyThe Real Flavour of Tuscany: Portraits and Recipes from 25 of Tuscany's Culinary Artisans