It is a simple, rustic looking bread with a crisp crust and a very airy crumb. The famous Tuscan bread is produced mostly in Altopascio, located in the province of Lucca. It can be kept for a long time if baked in a wood fired oven and its main characteristic, which makes it unique, is that of being completely saltless. It offers a very pleasant contrast when eaten with tasty and spicy foods.
Extra Vergine Olive Oil
In Tuscany, olive oil is an agricultural product of quality. It has been renowned for centuries. It is obtained by following ancient methods, with the traditional cultivation of the plants, and it is still produced in artisanal oil mills. Given the continuous attention of the farmers, the olive oil’s quality has remained high. In some places, its production, selective and very contained, makes it a precious A.O.C* food (* food of controlled origin). It has the characteristic of bringing out fragrances and flavours of dishes. pietanze.
Tuscan Raw Ham (Prosciutto Crudo)
It is a rustic looking ham with millennium-old origins. Its taste is very pleasant, definite and fragrant but not excessively salty. Its rich taste comes from its salting and its maturation, which secrets have been passed on for generations. A fragrant and typical aroma derives from the maturation process which lasts at least a year. The Tuscan Raw Ham, is used a lot in starters (antipasti) and in snacks given its taste and fragrance which allow to savour it entirely, even its aromatic fat.
Tuscan Ewe’s Cheese (Pecorino)
The Tuscan Ewe’s Cheese (Pecorino) is made from full-fat ovine milk with the addition of ferments and calf rennet. It can be eaten as a grated cheese depending on its level of maturity. Whether fresh or mature, it goes well with honey, jams, fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. If fresh, it goes well with white wines; if mature, it goes well with red wines.
Tuscan Sausage (Salame)
It is characterised by its flavoursome and very aromatic taste and for its aspect – with its grossly triturated fat. There is also a small version of it, called cacciatorino.
Lard of Colonnata (Lardo di Colonnata)
The lard (lardo) is the delicatessen that has made Colonnata famous in the world: once, it was the “sandwich” of the quarrymen, who cut it into thin slices to then put it between two slices of rustic bread along with pieces of tomatoes; this “sandwich” was prepared early in the morning and was used together with the flask of wine to give the quarrymen the necessary calories to face the steep slopes and the efforts to be made to excavate. The lard from Colonnata owes its exceptional goodness to its maturation, which takes place in a typical basin carved in a marble block (“conca di marmo”).
In Tuscany, chesnuts are harvested a bit everywhere, in Lunigiana, in Garfagnana, and in the Apuan Alps. When they aren’t used to make the chestnut flour, they are boiled to obtain the "ballocciori", flavoured with laurel and fennel leaves. They are also prepared in and grilled in the typical “riddled” pan to obtain the "mondine" or "caldarroste". They are particularly great if eaten just after they’ve been cooked and soaked in red wine.
The Bean of Bigliolo (Il Fagiolo di Bigliolo)
It is tender, with a subtle skin, and extremely digestible and delicate. It is a delight for gourmets, the pride of a village located in the heart of Lunigiana, land of ancient traditions and cultural crossroad.
The Onion of Treschietto
The characteristics that make it unique, on top of its flat shape, its external ruby red colour and internal white with red stripes colour, are: its consistency, tender, fleshy and full of water, but above all its pronounced aroma and the sweetness of its taste, which is pleasant even for the most delicate palates.
Panigacci of Podenzana
The panigacci, ancient "azyme bread", is a typical dish from Lunigiana which has made Podenzana famous in the whole world. They are simply made by mixing water and flour. They are cooked in the fire-place, in terracotta plates, made by local craftsmen, that are put on top of each other.
Testarolo of Lunigiana
The testarolo is a poor dough, made with natural ingredients (water, salt and wheat flour). In the past, it was cooked under the ashes. It has healthily fed, in a simple and non artificial way, generations of people from Lunigiana. They are often still prepared using the old traditional systems. They are seasoned with pesto or olive oil and grated pecorino (ewe’s cheese).
The "Sgabei” come from the province of Massa Carrara. They consist of strips of fried dough. They are served with delicatessen of all types. They make a great antipasto. They are also great with marmalades. They taste exceptionally good with stracchino cheese or lard from colonnata.
Spelt Wheat of Garfagnana
The cultivation of Spelt Wheat in Garfagnana dates back from 7000 B.C. and it was used at the time by people to make polenta or focaccia breads. It differentiates itself from the other qualities of Spelt Wheat by the dimensions of its grain, which is bigger, and by its waterproofness in cooking. It has a special, unique and flavoursome taste. "La minestra di farro", typical dish in Garfagnana, is not only exquisite but also particularly healthy.
Boletus Mushrooms (Funghi Porcini)
The Boletus Mushrooms (Funghi porcini) from Lunigiana have an intense aroma and a delicate taste. They have been the pride of the mountains of Lunigiana for centuries. Today, the harvest, preparation and conservation of the mushrooms is guarantied by specialised cooperatives.
Honey of Lunigiana
t is recognised as the best quality honey of Italy, the first to have obtained the recognition of the D.O.P.(Name of Protected Origin) and it is enough to taste it to believe it. The secret of such quality relies in an unpolluted environment, rich in flora, with a large presence of chestnut trees and acacias. All this allows the production of delicate millefiori honey, chestnut honey and very sweet acacia honey.
Brigidini of Lamporecchio
They are a famous Tuscan biscuit . They came from a mistake made in the kitchen and have made the fortune of Lamporecchio (Pistoia). The brigidini di Lamporecchio are small and tasty golden waffles made from eggs, sugar, anise and flour. They can be found in fairs and country fairs where they are cooked in public in the waffle irons.
Cantuccini of Prato
The classic cantuccini of prato, are a typical biscuit to serve after a good meal or even for other occasions to go with a glass of good Vinsanto. The recipe is guaranteed for a Tuscan biscuit famous in the whole of Italy.
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
In Florence, tradition and taste unite together in this sweet and exquisite cake, adapted for all occasions, from breakfast to tea break, to an informal after dinner reunion with friends. It is an extremely light and healthy cake: it is made with only one egg, no butter and only quality olive oil.
Chestnut Flour (Farina di neccio) of Garfagnana
In Garfagnana, chestnut flour or as it is called “neccio” flour, has substituted and been integrated to wheat flour in the preparation of bread, pastries and polenta for centuries. Today, it is appreciated for its aroma and its delicateness to the palate. The famous “castagnaccio” is obtained by kneading it with water, nuts, pieces of orange skin and oil and by then cooking it in the oven. There are also other special breads and rustic cakes that are still made today with the “neccio” flour.
Buccellato of Lucca
It is the most famous cake from Lucca. It is made from white flour, sugar, anise seeds and beer yeast. It can be made in different ways, but the original recipe is owned by the Taddeuci family who jealously pass it on from father to son. The Buccellato can also be eaten “stale” or fried, after having been soaked with egg, or sliced and soaked in vin santo, or…
Sweet Rice Cake (Torta di riso dolce)
It is made in Massa and Carrara. It is a cake made of rice, milk and eggs; it can be flavoured with anise or alkermes liquors. Once done, the cake has a round or rectangular shape, depending on the type of baking pan used. It is made of two layers: one of rice, and the other of flan type cream. The smell is delicate and pleasant. When cooked, it has a nice golden-brown colour.
Panforte of Siena
The Panforte, is a cake made from flour, almonds, candied fruit, and spices. It is the gastronomic symbol of Siena. It is the most famous Italian spice bread and has very ancient origins dating back to the time of the honey breads prepared in the Middle Ages.