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Our Top 10 Tuscan Eats

by Erin | Published: August 21, 2012

Traditional Tuscan Dishes

These first five dishes are typical to the Tuscany region.

1) Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al pomodoro shows off the Tuscans ingenious use of stale bread and
ability to turn basic ingredients into something special. Its a simple but
filling soup of stale bread and tomatoes with garlic, basil and olive oil. Its
often so thick that you have to eat it with a fork.

Here the soup was unusually served with involtini di melanzana e


mozzarella thin slices of grilled aubergine stuffed with melty mozzarella.

Where: We enjoyed this pappa al pomodoro at Osteria Boccon del Prete, Via
San Pietro 17, Siena. We also learnt to make the soup on our cooking
course in the Garfagnana as part of our Sapori e Saperi food tour.

2) Panzanella

Like pappa al pomodoro, panzanella is a fantastic summer dish using


tomatoes and stale bread (which is soaked in water). The salad usually has
red onion, basil and perhaps cucumber added and is seasoned with olive oil,
wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Where: We learnt to make panzanella on our cooking course and often


made it for lunch at home to use up old bread.

3) Ribollita

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Ribollita is another thick, comforting soup packed with beans, vegetables,
stale bread (again!) and flavoured with olive oil. Its usually served in winter.

Where: Osteria da Cice, Via San Pietro 32, Siena.

4) Scarpaccia di Camaiore

We had never heard of Scarpaccia di Camaiore before but it was our


favourite dish on our cooking course. Its a courgette (zucchini) tart made
with courgettes and their flowers, onion, flour, water, olive oil and seasoning.
It turns crisp, golden and tasty when baked in the oven.

Where: We learnt to make this on our cooking course in the Garfagnana


area of Tuscany where it originates from.

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5) Pici Cacio e Pepe

Pici are thick hand-rolled pasta like fat spaghetti that originate from the
province of Siena in Tuscany. Cacio e pepe means cheese and pepper and
although its a Roman pasta dish it has been adapted to Tuscany by using the
local pasta and pecorino toscano cheese.

In this Siena restaurant we discovered our love of this creamy, peppery


comfort food; simple but decadent, and went on to eat lots more of it
in Rome.

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Where: Osteria da Cice, Via San Pietro 32, Siena.

Other Italian Dishes

We enjoyed these dishes in Tuscany but they arent specific to this region of
Italy.

6) Crostini with Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato and Rocket

We enjoyed various crostini and bruschette (toasted bread with toppings) in


Tuscany but the absolute best was this melt in the mouth buffalo mozzarella

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with flavourful tomatoes, rocket, and peppery olive oil. Simple but utterly
delicious.

Where: Osteria Boccon del Prete, Via San Pietro 17, Siena.

7) Carpaccio di Zucchini

This starter of thinly sliced courgette with lemon, olive oil, parsley and
parmesan shavings was bursting with flavour. We loved this cosy family-run
trattoria away from the tourist crowds in Florence.

Where: Al Tranvai, Piazza Torquato Tasso, San Frediano, Florence.

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8) Linguine Allarrabiata

This classic Italian pasta sauce of tomato, chilli and garlic was wonderfully
spicy. As always Im in awe of how Italians make a few ingredients taste so
good.

Where: Al Tranvai, Piazza Torquato Tasso, San Frediano, Florence.

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9) Ravioli with Cherry Tomatoes, Pecorino and Basil

Like most of the ravioli in Italy these were stuffed with ricotta and spinach.
We loved these beautiful handmade pasta parcels served with a light sauce
of cherry tomatoes, pecorino cheese and basil.

Where: LOsteria, Piazza Angelio, Barga.

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10) Sformato di Rucola

When we ordered this rocket sformato we didnt know what to expect. It


turns out a sformato is an Italian souffl but less airy than the French kind,
almost a mousse. It was wonderfully creamy, cheesy and melted in our
mouths; pairing well with the tomato sauce.

Everything we ate at this upmarket restaurant in the countryside


near Montecarlo was delicious, including an amazing bread basket with
fluffy doughnut-like rolls (see the top photo).

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Where: La Nina, Via San Martino, Montecarlo.

Choosing just ten favourite dishes is an almost impossible task as pretty


much everything we ate in Tuscany was delicious. Heres a special shout out
to a few other tasty eats that we didnt get photos of (too busy eating):

Heavenly white chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce at Osteria


del Vento, Montecarlo (everything at this restaurant was good too).
Crema di Santa Fina saffron cream and pine nut gelato at Gelateria
della Piazza in San Gimignano.
Gorgeous creamy homemade chocolate paired with vin santo at the
Tuscan wine school in Siena.
Extra virgin olive oil from Tenuta del Buonamico, Montecarlo its
liquid gold.