Just combine salt, water, a drop of oil and whole-wheat flour and you’ve made the dough! Then the fairly thick sheet has to be cut into strips, and the pici begin to take shape. These are the protagonists of a simple dish, not overly complicated, but full of genuine ingredients found in the land of Val d’Orcia.
Traditions in the Maremma and Valdichiana
The countryside is inundated with the yellow ears of wheat, broken up by the green olive groves and vineyards. The home of pecorino cheese and saffron, this is the great open space of Maremma. This region, once known for its rough and swampy land, is the native land of buttero and razza maremmana – or “Maremma breed,” as well as game dishes and vegetable and fish soups, thanks to its close proximity to the sea.
Taking a break, hikers can enjoy the white streets that cross the Valdichiana, a magical place where the chianina graze lazily, a breed of cattle that is unparalleled in the flavour, thickness and digestibility of its meat.
To find the balance between the gentle landscape of the Sienese hills and the rough and wild Maremma, travel north to admire one of the most beautiful view in Tuscany: the Chianti hills, made famous for its Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines and for the elegant man-made vineyards.
Very soon you reach the Tuff Area, where the hills are coloured silver by the foliage of the olive trees. The oil produced here has earned the recognition of Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP).
Hikers will discover a route with unpredictable contours when climbing the Versilia: these are the Apuan Alps, with their wild beauty. Nature is a true work of art here and one of the best and most enjoyable Tuscan cured meats comes from this area: the lardo di Colonnata IGP. In the neighbouring Lunigiana, the delicacy is testarolo, always served on a terracotta or cast iron slab. Here, you’ll also discover the focaccia of Quercia di Aulla, herb cake and panigacci flat bread.
With forests, chestnuts, mills and historic mule tracks, hikers will enjoy walking along these shady and fresh hiking trails in the chestnut forest of Garfagnana. DOP chestnut flour, IGP spelt, honey and porcini mushrooms are just some of the ingredients in the typical and genuine cuisine here, which is traditionally simple and filling.
This imaginary journey ends with the Apennine hiking trails, where, at one time straight and at one time twisted, the ancient incomparably-beautiful forests survive in the chestnut groves of the Amiata. Here, rites and customs that have survived the changing of time are at the origin of the IGP Chestnut of Mount Amiata.
It’s true: amongst the countryside distinguished for the elegant geometry of its vineyards and of the hills covered in ears of wheat, or the shady and hidden Apennine woods, you can walk around in a kaleidoscope of ever-changing senses and emotions.
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