Last week Hubert and I returned from our holidays – happy, energised and with probably a few kilos more. Both of us travelled to Italy before, and 15 years ago or so I already visited some places in Tuscany. We had the idea of really discovering this beautiful region, which is blessed with numerous cultural sights, a capital full of history and world-class artworks, a landscape which not only takes your breath away but where outstanding wine, olive oil and other regional products originate from. In Tuscany life decelerates and the famous “dolce far niente” suddenly gets a meaning. We’ve spent 4 days in Florence where we stayed at the charming B&B La Gradiva right next to the Ponte Vecchio. After that we went south and checked into a beautiful Agriturismo called “La Podere del Vescovo” which is located in the wonderful landscape of Val d’Orcia, in the upper Maremma, and from where we initiated all our day trips. Of course I was also on a food blogger mission and in Tuscany this was an easy task! Here are some of my culinary impressions which gave me great inspiration for soon-to-come recipes:
Cece – did you know that chicpeas are a typical tuscan vegetable?
I always associated chicpeas with houmus. At our agriturismo the owners were growing their own chicpeas and it seemed to be a popular ingredient for all kind of dishes. They served it as a salad or as a side dish and I really started to like this legume. It is high in fiber, vitamin b and folic acid. But most importantly it tastes very well! Since we’ve returned we already had them twice and I will soon share the recipe with you.
Pici – the tuscan Spaghetti and other pasta
Pici are a thick spaghetti which are originally hand rolled. In Florence I had the typical Pici dish, with peperoncini, garlic and oil. Yummy! Another pasta dish which shall soon to be cooked here in Zurich, was Fettucini with white beans, sage, and black ground pepper. Yesterday we cooked Pici Bolognese for friends and they loved it!
Have you ever had a Crostino with melted pecorino and truffle oil?
Mouthwatering! If you ever visit Pienza a visit at the small Osteria Sette di Vino is a must! Try to catch a table inside, so you can observe the preparation of the food and feel the Italian atmosphere. Pienza is famous for the white wine, so have a try.
Antipasti – nothing is better than a glass of wine and some ham and cheese, right?
As a starter, for an aperitivo, apericena or as a full dish. A plate of sliced ham, salami and cheese, together with a carafe of wine is simply the best. We took a piece of Italy home and our fridge is full of it now. At one Trattoria they served warm honey with the cheese, delicious!
The best gelateria in Florence
My intention was to eat one gelato per day. And I succeeded! The best gelato we´ve tried whas at the gelateria GROM in Florence and Siena. My favourite flavour: Pistacchio (Recipe to follow soon)
Tuscan Wine – a constant and excellent companion
I loved to be in Tuscany in September. The ripe grapes are hanging from the vines and the farmers are getting ready for the harvest. Instead of visiting the popular and touristy wineries we preferred to enjoy the vineyards and the wine at the restaurants. We were close to the Montalcino region and brought back some nice “Rosso di Montalcino” bottles. In Italy we drank most of the time the simple house wine and were never disappointed.
Ribollita – a typical tuscan soup
Hubert had the best Riboliita in Pienza (Sette di Vino). A soup which is made of bread and vegetable. Will try it myself soon…
Some more food impressions
Have you ever been to Tuscany? What was your best food experience?