Garfagnana

Some traditional Tuscan products that you can find at high altitudes

Straight from the mountains: 6 Tuscan foods you must taste

We often think about mountains as a place to visit in winter when everything is white and cold. Actually, mountains are the perfect destination for trekking activities and for the most adventurous summer escapes. Suitable for those traveling with children, mountains are also great places for foodies. Here are some traditional Tuscan products that you can find at high altitudes:

Necci

Necci are sweet chestnuts crepes. You can taste them filled with cottage cheese or chocolate in Garfagnana and in the Apennines.

Castagnaccio
Castagnaccio
Castagnaccio

Castagnaccio is a traditional cake made with chestnut flour, very common to the Apennine mountainous area of Tuscany. It can be eaten all year round because it’s good served both warm and cold.

Spelt

Spelt or farro is a truly ancient grain used by Romans to feed their legions. In Garfagnana (Lucca) spelt has been cultivated for centuries and it’s still the main ingredient of some traditional local dishes such as the spelt soup.

Spelt soup
Spelt soup - Credit: Aurelio Barattini
Biroldo Salami

Biroldo salami from the Garfagnana is a blood sausage made using the lean pig’s head. Spices are added to give it an extra special flavour, such as wild fennel, cloves, cinnamon, coriander or aniseed.

Biroldo
Biroldo - Credit: Parco dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano
Bardiccio salami

Bardiccio salami is a cold cut from the Florentine mountains. The main ingredient is pork which makes up at least 80% of the mixture. Beef is added to intensify the flavour, while the addition of heart makes these sausages unique. In terms of seasoning, wild fennel is the primary ingredient, together with garlic, spices, salt and pepper.

Pecorino cheese

Pecorino cheese has been produced for centuries using raw sheep’s milk (unpasteurized milk). For the quality of the milk, the technique of sheep-raising is fundamental: the animals are free-ranging on the mountain pastures and it is said that this cheese has the “flavour of mountain grasses.” 

Pecorino Toscano
Pecorino Toscano - Credit: Consorzio Pecorino Toscano

Cover image credit: Matteo Pieroni

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Food and Wine