Tuscany should be visited all year round and the many small local realities give the region its continuing fascination. Our latest Tuscany travel articles below.
Hello, in your article you mention alchermes liqueur. I have tried many times to find that here in the US or some way to order it, but with no luck. Yours is the first article I've seen with a mention of it. I use it in zuppa inglese. I brought some back from Italy years ago, but of course it's all gone. Thanks for your help! M. DePalma.
The production of alchermes liqueur in Italy can easily be traced to Florence. It is credited to the Frati di Santa Maria Novella in the 1400's, although note the spelling on the label of the bottle in our image above.
The best pecorino cheese in Italy officially comes from Pienza in the province of Siena, Tuscany. And the best of the best is made by the Azienda Agricola Fattoria Pianporcino in Pienza who won the gold medal of the 'Concorso Pecorini d'Italia a Latte Crudo' in September 2007.
The event was part of the annual Fiera del Cacio. A parallel event for organic cheeses saw over one hundred cheeses competing from 14 regions of Italy. The gold medal went to the Azienda Agricola Sant'Anna dei Fratelli Sanna from Monteroni d'Arbia in the province of Siena for their pecorino, while the silver medla went to the Azienda Agricola Querceta in Putignano in the province of Bari, Puglia, for their caciocavallo.
The now (just about) archived mad cow scare across Europe had the effect of increasing the amount of labelling on all Italian meat products - 'Genuine Sicilian', 'Hand-reared Lazio' etc. In a strange way 'mucca pazza' has been good for typical regional products.
There are many ancient breeds still surviving across Italy and each has strong regional identities. Those of central Italy have been grouped under the name 'Vitellone Bianco dell'Appennino Centrale' or 'White Veal of the Central Apennines'. The EU have even labelled them IGP, a protected status mark or 'Indicazione Geografica Protetta'. Just seek out the above logo.
Montepulciano near Siena is synonymous with Tuscan wine. Last time we looked there were 6 DOCG wines from Tuscany, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was one of them. Of the 34 DOC, Montepulciano lends its name to a Rosso and a Vin Santo, ignoring any reference to those produced in Abruzzo from the grape of the same name.
The largest specimen of white truffle in the world was found in 1954 in the district of San Miniato in a village called Balconevisi. It weighed 2520 grams and traveled across the Atlantic to be donated to the President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower.
Tasting olive oil can be a real art or a thoroughly scientific process. In fact, both methods are used to analyse olive oil, detect impurities and separate your extra virgin olive oil from plain olive oil. The difference is not to be underestimated. Rather comfortingly, the nose and palate of a trained expert is almost as infallible as a person in a white coat squeezing things into test tubes.
Delicious Italy participated in an olive oil tasting exercise in the town hall of Castel del Piano near Montalcino in Tuscany. 15 olive oils were sampled and, as is the standard practice, a munch on a slice of apple and a sip of water separated each test.
The recipe for these common carnival fried pastry or frappe is similar across Italy, but regional dialects and slight variations have led to a handful of local names such as 'bugie', 'risole', 'manzòle' and 'fiocchetti'.
In Tuscany, these doughnuts may also be called 'chiacchiere'. In Venice 'fritole'. All are delicious and typically sprinkled with icing sugar like a light layer snow on the hills of the lower Appenines at this time of year.
250g flour, 80gr sugar, 2 eggs, caster sugar, olive oil, orange and lemon peel, sweet wine, salt to taste.
Castagnaccio is a classic autumn sweet from the chestnut woods of Monte Amiata in south Tuscany, although slight variations can be found wherever there are chestnut woods in Italy.We ate lots of it in the cantine of Castel del Piano as part of the vino novello celebrations one December weekend.
300g chestnut flour, 100g raisins, 50g pine nuts (or walnuts), 4 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil rosemary, salt, water.
Typical Tuscan style soup with vegetables, beans and bread.
Red onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, beans, savoy cabbage, leek, zucchini, beans, tomato sauce, thyme, white Tuscan bread, salt and pepper, stale bread.
This article was forwarded to us by Heather Jarman of Sapori & Saperi Gastronomic Adventures and she gives a professional take on traditional farming methods in Tuscany.
"People are always telling you to learn from the past, but it’s often difficult to see how past circumstances apply to the present. I trained as an archaeologist and spent ten years working on the Early History of Agriculture in Europe project at Cambridge University. We were puzzled about the location of the earliest sites with evidence of cereal agriculture.