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.
A rich alcoholic cake from Florence.
A Zuccotto is Tuscan dialect for a cardinal's skull cap and perhaps this dish was originally prepared to honor a guest at a marital festival during the Renaissance.
We did look for a recipe for 'semi freddo' having enjoyed it at a wedding in Bologna. If we come across one it will be posted here in the future.
50g prepared almonds, 50g shelled hazelnuts, 300g Madeira cake, 3 tablespoons of cognac, 2 tablespoons maraschino liqueur, 2 tablespoons Cointreau, 140g semi sweet chocolate, 500ml whipping cream.
Here's a very satisfying dish from the beautiful island of Elba. Anyone looking for a Spring break would do worse than considering Elba for 4 days.
The sea may be cool but the days are warm and long, and the beaches empty.
One of Italy's great food combinations is sweet, sweet 'Vin Santo' wine with rock hard, break your fillings, cantucci biscuits.
But when the cantucci have been dipped in the wine for a few seconds, the result is a taste sensation.
This recipe from Tuscany is for the so called 'Biscotto di Prato' near Florence and follow this link to see them at their best - www.antoniomattei.it.
400gr flour, 250gr sugar, 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, 100gr whole almonds, 2 spoons milk, 3gr bicarbonate soda
To give it its full Italian name this recipe is: 'Filetti di baccalà alla Vernaccia di San Gimignano con millefoglie di patate al forno con salsa allo Zafferano di San Gimignano'.
We thank the Ristorante Dorando in San Gimignano for kindly supplying us with the recipe.
According to chefs Duccio, Francesco and Vincenzo the philosophy of the cooking of the Ristorante Dorando is to transform classic and typical dishes of the Cucina Toscana into 'piatti creativi' while maintaining the original flavors.
This dish is an ideal lunch as the days get hotter and hotter.
It is extremely simple and the wonderful thing is that varying the quality and origin of the base ingredients will keep the pasta dish tasting different each time.
For example, try butter from the Dolomites, olive oil from Lazio, pasta from Puglia, ricotta made from 'bufala' and pecorino from Sardinia.
Even the salt could be specially sourced in Marsala in Sicily and the basil grown at home.
This part of Tuscany is north east of Florence and sits snugly in the Apennines before Emilia Romagna and the Po Valley.
We have a book of local recipes but this risotto recipe with grapes and red wine caught the eye.
The Upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany has remained much as it was since the ancient Romans were using the sturdy oak trees of the zone to construct the Empire.
The river also offered a convenient way of transporting the timbers all the way to the capital.
Notwithstanding this activity, the first permanent towns only rose in medieval times thanks to the presence of various monasteries.
Indeed, the monks of the St. Romualdo order set about regulating the zone by controlling the traffic on the river and issuing contracts for land cultivation.
Today, the woods and country walks are as wild as they used to be and visitors can enjoy the rare flora and fauna in special protected zones, as well as the more common deer, badgers and foxes without too much difficulty.
Do head to the artificial Lake Montedoglio in the centre of the Upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany where bird spotters can see a range of water birds from herons to the fabuously named ‘Knights of Italy’.
Read on about the individual towns of the valley, but do make a note of the following areas to explore further: the thick woods of Germagnano and Montecasale, the chestnut and beech tree forest of Caprese Michelangelo and the green meadows of Badia Tedalda and Sestino.