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Tuscan food

Tuscan gastronomy is made up of two souls: one is bound to countryside tradition, the other one to the refined taste of seigniorial courts. These two souls put together the simple and genuine dishes of tradition, accompanied by good wine and meat. Probably the most famous specialty of Tuscan cuisine is the Florentine steak. This is a veal slice, cut very thick, about 5 cm, with the bone forming a T. The special taste of this dish lies in the quality of meat, in the exactness of the cut, and in the quality of the cooking grill. The preparation consists of a quick cooking, which leaves the steak rare.



Food
Tuscany traditional cuisine is mostly bound to farm tradition. The typical dishes are consequently nutritious and tasty. The base ingredients are bread, legumes (beans, spelt and chick-peas) and all qualities of pork and beef meat, which were known by the courts. The most known characteristic of Florentine cuisine is the savour of bread. This characteristic was known yet in ancient times, as a line in Dante’s Divine Comedy proves:
"Tu proverai sì come sa di sale
lo pane altrui, e come è duro calle
lo scendere e 'l salir per l'altrui scale.."


Tuscan bread is actually less salty than usual, as it accompanies dishes with strong flavours as sausages, salty ham, salami, and a special quality of pork product spread with fennel seeds. Sausages are also extremely flavoured. They must be eaten raw, grilled and left rare inside. Roast products also never miss on the table, especially pork ribs and beefsteak.
The most exquisite Tuscan cheese is pecorino. There are many qualities according to maturing time, but generally they are all strong flavoured, and accompany sweet pears and beans.


Oil is an essential part of the culinary Tuscan tradition. The majority of legumes is seasoned with the oil produced in Chianti. The squeezing time is a real event in Tuscany, accompanied with feasts celebrating this exquisite element. The novel oil (olio nuovo, coming from first squeezing) is ideal to prepare some tasty bruschetta (grilled bread spread with various kinds of sauces). Given the geographical position of Tuscany, stretching out from the Apennines to the sea, there are so many and different dishes and products. The most known are certainly the biroldo, the sanguinaccio (coming from the region of Garfagnana), the brigidini, some cakes made with aniseeds (coming from the area of Lamporecchio),  ribollita,  panzanella, bread soup and schiacciata. On the coast there are tasty fish dishes like the cacciucco alla livornese and stockfish, which are present on all tables of Tuscany.

 

Wine                                                                                                                                                       Chianti has now become a worldwide renowned wine. Although the production is confined to the hills of the Chianti region, there are many other qualities of wine coming from this zone, which are able to satisfy any taste and to suit with almost every dish of Tuscany cuisine. The Chianti Classico Gallo Nero is a protected DOCG brand. This brand means that the wine is produced in conformity with some precise requisites, specifically listed in the regulation act for wine producers. The text of this production code can be fully read on the website www.chianticlassico.com . Other typical wines are: Vinsanto, a liquorish wine accompanying desserts, bianco Vernaccia of San Giminiano, Vino Nobile of Montepulciano,  Brunello di Montalcino and Aleatico d’Elba.


Curiosity
Tuscan Wines are often bound to legends, traditions and funny circumstances.


Vin Santo
According to the tradition, the name Vin Santo comes from a translation mistake. Legend has it that the liquorish wine was offered to the cardinal Bessarione during the Council of 1439. Apparently, the Greek cardinal tasted the wine and suddenly exclaimed "è Xantos", referring to a place where a similar wine was produced. But the people confused the word “é Xantos” with “é santo” (“it is sacred”), believing that the cardinal had seen in the wine a divine quality. Hence the name Vin Santo which was lately given to the wine.


Recipes
Below is a list of the main Florentine recipes.


Bruschetta
Toasted bread spread with garlic and seasoned with oil. It can also be prepared with small tomato pieces. 


Bread and beans soup
Ingredients:
300 grams of dried little beans
smashed tomatoes
celery
parsley
1 medium onion
extra virgin olive oil


Cooking instructions:
cook the dried beans previously immersed for one night into a basin with cold salty water. Prepare a mix of celery, onion, basil. Fry all together with a little bit of oil in a large pan. Add the boiled beans with their boiling water, and two smashed tomatoes. Boil all together for about half an hour, adding hot water or soup if necessary. Prepare some slices of toasted bread and lay them in a bowl, alternating layers of bread and soup with the beans. Go on until the bowl is filled, and add some olive oil on the top.


Ribollita
Ingredients:
300 g. small beans
250 g. old bread
1 tuft of black cabbage
1/4 di cavolo verza
2 potatoes
2 carrots2 aubergines
2 celeries
2 smashed tomatoes
beet
1 leak
1 onion
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper


Cooking instructions:
Let the beans immersed in water for 8 hours, boil them and fry them with onion. Add all the other vegetables roughly cut and let cook for about 10 minutes. Add the coking water of beans with a half of the total quantity of beans (the other half shall be added later). Cook slowly for about two hours. Add the bread cut in slices and mix all up, then let it boil for other 10 minutes. Leave the soup cooling down and serve in a terracotta saucepan with a bit of original Tuscan olive oil.


Beans with bird
Ingredients:
200 g. dried small beans
500 g. smashed tomatoes
1/2 glass of extra virgin olive oil
2 clove of garlic
sage
salt and pepper


Cooking instructions:
put the beans into a bowl of water for 12 hours, rinse them and cook them slowly with salt water, and take them out before complete cooking. fry some garlic cloves with sage into a pan with oil, add the smashed tomatoes and let cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans properly rinsed when they are still warm, mix them up gently, add some salt and pepper in huge amount. Cook for 15 minutes.

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