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.
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.
This is a typical pasta dish for early Spring and Easter from the hilly Mugello territory of north east Tuscany in the province of Florence.
6 eggs, 500g flour, 100g spinach, 500g fresh sheep ricotta cheese, 200g parmigiano reggiano cheese, 30g pecorino cheese, salt, nutmeg
The Tuscan city of Colle Val D'Elsa in the province of Siena is not on many tourist excursions. But this once flourishing medieval town along the Via Francigena pilgrim route is worth an extension as they say in trade. Firstly, because the city is built on three gradients or hills and is formed of a borgo, castle and plain. It looks like a Hollywood film set ready for a Saracen attack.
This recipe was prepared in front of our eyes by Chef Camilla Monteduro who has her own television show 'LE CONSERVE DI CAMILLA' on the Gambero Rosso Channel. It was a quick cooking lesson as part of a Food Bloggers Contest organised by Antonella, owner of Tenuta di Lupinari in Tuscany. While she was making the conserve, Camilla also gave everyone useful tips on how to prepare ingredients and cook professionally.
3kg fresh red Tropea onions, 900g white sugar, 900g brown sugar, 4 spoons of sultanas softened in tepid water, glass of Calvados, glass of apple vinegar, 2 lemons, 1 orange, 1 fresh vanilla stick, salt, fresh peperoncino, dried marjoram.
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.
The pecorino cheese of Pienza is one of the best in Italy, especially the version 'sotto cenere' or 'under ashes'.
The cheese has ancient origins and has probably been produced in the zone since man first settled here. Sometimes known as 'Pecorino della Val d'Orcia' or 'Cacio di Pienza' it is produced between October and July and seasoned for up to 2 months to give it its distinctive flavour.
Until the beginning of the 15th century Corsignano had always been a small farming hamlet, but it had the good fortune to be the birthplace of Enea Silvio Piccolomini in 1405.
Born to parents who were marginalised from Siena by the no holds barred politics of the time, young Silvio embraced his destiny to eventually become Pope Pius II
The new Pope had great plans for Corsignano and it took just 4 years, from 1459 to 1462, to achieve a total transformation to a precise design encompassing the ideals of the Renaissance, a sort of perfect city.
It was duly proclaimed Pienza. Today, visit the Museo Diocesano di Pienza to find out more.
Do stop by nearby Monticchiello which is located right in the middle of the Orcia valley. This smalled walled town was originally a XII century hosptal for pilgrims and is much as it was at the time.
If you are also wondering where the classic Tuscan postcards are photographed, it's here.
The Butteri come not only from the Maremma zone in Tuscany, but also from Lazio.
The imagery of the Roman countryside and the Pontine marshes in the 18th century was full of mounted cowboys with blue trousers herding flocks of buffalo and Maremmana cattle.
With the draining of the marshes and the successive cultivation of that immense wild empire of the Pontine marshes, many herds and butteri moved north, recreating their world, especially around Grosseto which became the capital of the Maremma.
Even today, very little is known about the life of the last examples of their kind, barricated between the Tolfa Hills in Upper Lazio, Etruria, the Tenuta dell'Alberese, which is now a part of the Maremma Natural Park and the Fattoria del Marruchetone where they demonstrate their spectacular skills in a legendary show to let people participate in those old traditions.