Tuscany is one of those Italian regions where good food and good drinks are simply part of the culture. Every self-respecting food-lover cannot miss a trip to Tuscany – the rolling hills of Siena and the green slopes of Chianti region. Here you come in search of taste experiences that best define the Italian way of life. These typical products are best when tasted in their territory of origin, each offering a unique characteristics and flavors perfect for pairing. Here are 5 Typical Tuscan Dishes & Wines.
Cinta Senese Suine – Let’s start with a product of excellence from the province of Siena – a pig bred mainly in the area of Monteriggioni, Sovicille, Casole d’Elsa and Poggibonsi in the beautiful region of Chianti. The Cinta Senese is a dark-fur breed and is named for its distinctive white band encircling the chest, shoulders and front legs. Raised in the wild or semi-wild, this breed of pig meat is very savory and succulent and has less fat than traditional pork. This is because its fat is rich in oleic acid (containing a lower content of bad cholesterol) and polyunsaturated fats and is much less “dangerous” than saturated fat. The products that are obtained from the cinta senese are some of the most classic of the Italian gastronomic tradition and range from sausages to ribs and steaks. If you’d like to pair this meat with wine, we suggest a full-bodied Brunello di Montalcino, which dries out the fattier elements of this meat with just the right tannic contribution.
Pecorino di Pienza Cheese – Now that we’ve talked about meat, let’s move onto the cheese kingdom. Pienza is an historical town in Val di Chiana, famous for being an “ideal city” according to Renaissance mandate. It’s also an ideal city thanks to the sins of the table as well. Cheese is produced throughout the charming streets of this village so you are sure to recognize the smell as you enter enriched with various seasonings from fresh to the more aged. These cheeses also undergo different types of preservation from that in barrels of oak (aged for at least 90 days) to ash preservation or in caves in pomace of Nobile di Montepulciano. If you’d like to pair this cheese with wine, we recommend you combine this cheese with a Reserve wine. The full structure of Nobile will enhance the strong aromatic component of Pecorino di Pienza cheese, making every taste nothing short of exhilarating.
Chianina Beef – Let’s go back to Val di Chiana and back to meat. If you are a food lover, you’ve surely heard of steak made from the fine breed Chianina Beef! The finest cut is from the back, where we get the famous Florentine steak. Don’t be surprised if when you order this steak, the waiter doesn’t bother asking how you’d like it cooked. This cut generally tends to lend itself ro rare with a tasty crust on the outside and pink on the inside. Asking for it well-done would be nothing less than a crime, since this would overcook the exterior. The cut of Chianina steak is quite thick (at least two fingers) so it’s impossible to “char” on the grill. Once it is served, it’s advisable to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on it and if you prefer, a sprinkle of pepper. You’ll need a very special wine with this meal so we recommend a Carpineto Cabernet Sauvignon Farnito – the perfect Supertuscan wine to accompany this dish thanks to its complex aromas of spices, licorice and vanilla.
Pici Pasta – Once we’ve worked our way through meats and cheeses, we move onto handmade pasta. Pici is a typical dish of Siena, especially in Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia. It is a long handmade pasta, similar to spaghetti but much thicker. Pici are made only with water and flour (no eggs!) and are best served with a variety of sauces that range the typical Aglione with tomatoes and garlic (perfect for vegetarians and vegans) and more structured sauces , such as hare, wild boar or rabbit. This is a very versatile pasta and can be paired with full, red wines. We recommend pairing pici with Dogajolo, a red wine with an intense ruby red color and scents of spices and vanilla.
Lampredotto Peasant Dish – A typical dish from Florence, known as the “lily of the province” is a simple peasant dish – tripe which is made from the intestines of cattle and usually served inside a sandwich called “semella”. This dish is accompanied by condiments of your choice, from classic salt and pepper, salsa verde sauce or hot sauce. The strong flavor of this dish definitely dictates a well-structured wine and we recommend a Chianti Classico Riserva, produced precisely in the areas where this dish became popular and gained its historic reputation for street food. It may sound like a bit of an adventurous dish but try it – you will not be disappointed.