In Italy, each region has its own unique cuisine, with Tuscany offering one of the best known regional cookeries in the world. However, it's not the same everywhere. Although traditional dishes can be found throughout the region, countless specialties are linked to specific areas or cities. Here are 50 local Tuscan dishes and the best (or the most unique) places in which to find them.
- Bordatino soup: very tasty soup made with corn flour, beans and kale.
- Torta co' bischeri: rice and chocolate pie, flavored with pinenuts, raisins and candied fruit.
- Baccalà coi porri Fried salted and breaded cod that is flavored with leeks
- Mucco pisano: the Mucco Pisano is a crossbreed between the Schways breed (from the Alps) and local cattle breed. Its main characteristic is the flavour of its meat: intense and particularly tasty.
- Wild Boar Stew with olives (Chianni): in November, olives are picked by hand, one by one, and then cooked with the wild boar that, which is marinated and prepared in a stew.
- Bringoli with fake ragù: thick hand-made spaghetti seasoned with fake sauce or, more appropriately, “fake ragù” because it looks like ragù but it is meatless.
- Sangiovannese stew (San Giovanni Valdarno): a succulent stew made with veal meat, vegetables and spices.
- Gattò: the word Gattò comes from the French word “gateau” that means cake. Gattò is a soft cake filled with custard.
- Tarlati soup: a special chicken soup made with the local Valdarno Chicken.
- Scottiglia: a mixed tender meat (pork, beef, chicken, pigeon, guinea fowl and even turkey) stew, simmered in tomato.
- Lampredotto sandwich: a very popular Florentine street food that you can buy from stalls around the city. Lampredotto is part of the cow’s stomach, cooked in a broth containing herbs and tomatoes.
- Schiacciata con l’uva: a sweet version of “flat bread,” oven baked and filled with grapes.
- Florentine Tripe: there are various “trippai” or tripe stalls dotted around the city and its markets who sell tripe boiled or cooked, according to various recipes.
- Florentine steak: a T-bone steak (traditionally of either the Chianina or Maremmana breeds of cattle), grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and olive oil.
- Potato-filled tortello pasta (Mugello area): soft, square, yellow ravioli, filled with mashed potatoes.
- Ponce alla Livornese: a special coffee from Livorno made with coffee, rum, sugar and lemon peel.
- Cacciucco: the traditional and famous fish soup from Livorno.
- Baccalà livornese (Livorno): salted cod, perfectly seasoned with tomatoes and onions.
- "Cinque e cinque" sandwich (Livorno): focaccia filled with Farinata or Cecina (chickpea flatbread). It is called ‘cinque e cinque’, a name from the past, when slices of both the chickpea flatbread and the focaccia cost only five lire each.
- Schiaccia briaca (Elba island): this is a kind of sweet flat bread, topped with pine nuts, raisins and dried fruit, which has an Oriental flavour. Since the nineteenth century, Aleatico red wine has also been added to the bread.
- Ricotta and spinach tortelli (Maremma): this square shaped ravioli is very popular across the region. The ravioli from Maremma are the biggest in size Ricotta and spinach tortelli.
- Sfratti (Pitigliano and Sorano): a cigar-shaped biscuit, with a thin layer of unleavened dough, wrapped around a filling of chopped walnuts, honey, orange peel and nutmeg.
- "Sfumate" eels (Orbetello): marinated and then smoked eels. A pepper sauce is used for the marination.
- Biscotto salato (Roccalbegna): a tasty bagle made with water, oil, flour, salt, yeast, and anise seeds.
- Panficato (Giglio Island): Panficato is a typical cake made of dried fruits from Giglio island, similar to Siena's Panforte.
- Spaghetti alla Trabaccolara (Versilia): fresh fish sauce for spaghetti. It was a sauce prepared on board, by fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto, who came to live and fish in Versilia.
- Garmugia: a vegetables soup with a very little meat. A modern version includes some dried pancetta (belly bacon – non smoked) and a little ground meat.
- Spelt Soup: a traditional soup made with spelt, vegetables and borlotti beans. Spelt from the Garfagnana area is particularly good compared to the spelt cultivated in other regions.
- Scarpaccia: a zucchini Pie baked with both salt and sugar. It is served in the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a meal.
- Torta d'Erbi: a very special dessert made with vegetables, such as chards and spinach, and flavored with sugar, raisins and pine nuts.
- Stuffed Celery: celery ribs with a meat filling made of veal, mortadella, parsley, parmesan and eggs.
- Dried figs from Carmignano: sweet and soft with a slight taste of anise, dried fig from Carmignano is very tasty with mortadella from Prato, but is also perfect as a light dessert. It’s famous across the country for its organoleptic attributes and its ancestral and natural drying technique.
- Sweet peaches: Peach-shaped pastries dipped in Alkermes and stuffed with custard.
- Mantovana: a simple yet tasty sponge cake from Prato.
- "Zuccherini" (Vernio): special biscuits made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar and aniseed. Very good for breakfast or for a snack.
- Testaroli (Massa Carrara): unusual types of fresh pasta made from an egg-free dough that is flattened between the testi (special cast iron baking dishes) like a crepe and then briefly plunged into boiling water before serving.
- Panigacci (Podenzana): traditional bread from the Lunigiana area. It’s round and flat and cooked on special terracotta plates called ‘testi’, which are placed directly in the fire.
- Torta d’Erbi (Villafranca): vegetables stuffed pie, usually served hot and cooked on special terracotta plates, called ‘testi’, which are placed directly in the fire.
- Lasagne Bastarde (Licianan Nardi): a very special type of lasagna pasta made with chestnut flour.
- Frgadei (Fivizzano): a tasty polenta soup made with Tuscan kale, beans and pecorino.
- Pici all'aglione: pici pasta is similar to spaghetti although it's thicker and the pieces are stretched by hand. All'aglione means seasoned with tomato and garlic sauce.
- Panforte: ancient Christmas cake, made with walnuts, almonds, candied citron, mixed spices and coriander seeds.
- Sweet polenta (Abbadia San Salvatore): chestnut flour polenta, seasoned with sausage, ricotta and pork liver.
- Lunghetti or tagliolini alle briciole e tartufo (Crete senesi): long shaped pasta made with flour and water, and seasoned with breadcrumbs and white truffle.
- Mushroom soup (Vivo d'Orcia): tasty soup made with all the mushrooms that can be collected on the Amiata mountain. It’s served with toasted bread that is rubbed with garlic.
- Berlingozzo (Pistoia): a simple but tasty ring-shaped Carnival cake. The secret of the Berlingozzo cake is of the use of local ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil.
- "Carcerato pistoiese" soup: traditional soup made with giblets, stale bread and water and enriched in spices, cheese and garlic.
- Pistoia Panforte Glacé: it is a chocolate-covered fruit cake containing only almonds, hazelnut cream, vanilla beans, chunks of chocolate, cocoa butter, and candied cedar fruit from the south of Italy.
- Cialde di Montecatini (Montecatini): it is a very simple sweet, without added fats or preservatives, made up of two fragrant wafers composed of flour, sugar, milk, eggs and crushed almonds.
- Sorana beans "al fiasco" (Sorana): small and very thin-skinned cannellini bean cooked "al fiasco" (in glass containers with large openings), with garlic and sage.
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Cover image credit: Pesche di Prato