According to the Italian proverb salad should be cooked by four chefs: a miser, a philosopher, a prodigal and a painter. The miser should serve the salad with vinegar, the philosopher should add salt; the prodigal adds oil and the painter mixes all the ingredients. The dishes are different for each of the provinces. Pasta, despite the prejudice, is a favorite but not the only national dish.
Prosciutto crudo salato is one of the loveliest Tuscan dishes. There are similar dishes in central and southern Italy but their recepies have their own picularities. Dried ham and a lot of salt with spices make the taste of the dish unique. The reason for that is the preservation of the products in the hot climate of Tuscany. Prosciutto crudo salato becomes even tastier in combination with dry bread. That’s why it is always included into appetizer – antipasto toscano. Finocchiona – local salami with seeds of fennel is also one of its constituents.
Crostini – little sandwiches with roasted bread and liver pudding may be served as appetizer or independently. Similar dish is fettuna – roasted bread with garlic and olive oil. Fresh vegetables have become of the main traits of Tuscan cuisine. Fresh vegetable bars may be an outstanding addition to pinzimonio – appetizer with Tuscan olive oil, sea salt and pepper at the bottom. Salads do also have their place in the recipe book. Panzanella – is a perfect example of a Tuscan salad. The combination of bread, tomatoes and fresh vegetables served with oil and basil will not leave you unaffected.
Đ anzanella is served as the first dish. You may also order a soup which has a special place in Tuscany. Tuscan hostesses often cook soups with beans, vegetables and fish. The variety of soups attracts everyone: ribollita – the soup with different vegetables, cabbage, bread and olive oil; pasta e fagioli – a thick soup with noodle and beans; farro – a thick soup with corns of wheat and others.
Tuscany is also famous for sea dishes which is not surprising for region with such huge coastline. Fish and other sea products are often used for cooking of caciucco alla livonese – an original ragout, served with fried bread soaked with tomato juice.
Bistecca fiorentina – is a famous Florence beef-steak. It is really a substantial dish and it is hardly possible to handle it alone, unless you really starve. A piece of meat not less than 500 grammes is usually taken to cook the dish. The meat is not marinated in advance and becomes especially tasty after being grilled.
Pecorino – sheep cheese which is worth having after the main course. For dessert you may chose between torta con i bischeri (cake with stone pine nuts) and Italian ice-cream, one of the best in the world. Please, don’t forget that ”caffe” with the stress on last syllable means a tiny cup of espresso. But if you would like to have a bigger cup, please order ”caffe americano”.
Sarge – festivals, dedicated to some product or dish are more common in Tuscany than anywhere else in Ialy. Sagra della Fragola is the festival of strawberry; Sarga del Fungo – the festival of mushrooms; Sarga del Cinghiale – the festival of the boar; Sarga del Tortello – festival of pasta with filling. The festivals are accompanied with music and dancing. San Giovanni is the city which is famous for the annual fair of truffles in November.
As a rule each province has its specialty every year that is why it is almost impossible to describe the whole variety of Tuscan cuisine. The only thing that is left is to take a Tuscan tour and find out everything yourself!