Tuscan Antipasto

tuscan-antipastoFirst things first: what does Antipasto mean? Literally it's a compound word formed by anti - meaning before and pasto the italian for meal! So when you get to Tuscany you will get introduced to its hearthy tastes through that platter that will reach your table - called Tuscan Antipasto! What makes our antipasto up? Antipasto's don't necessarily have to be the same, restaurants might serve slightly different platters. However, most of the time the strter platter will be split into salumi and crostini and formaggi. Salumi are cured meats - crostini are slices of frusta (the tuscan version of the french baguette or french bread) - formaggi cheese. Amongst the Salumi: slices of tuscan salami - finocchiona and maybe some Colonnata Lard! Finocchiona is like tuscan salami where amongst the herbs and spices that are used to season and maintain the meat (pork) there are numerous finocchio seeds (wild fennel seeds).  I'm sure you're all familiar with Colonnata Lard if you're not you can read a brief explanation here! You will surely find at least one chicken liver crostino one bruschetta (crostone topped with tomato-extra virgin olive oil and salt) and sometimes a crostone with cannelini beans!  The cheese you'll find in your platter will most probably be mostly made of sheep (ewe) milk. These pecorino's will certainly be local - tuscans are very much attached to their produce! Finally yet rarely you might find coccole or ficattole these are fried pasta puff balls that are delicious and which you can use instead of bread to acompany your cold cuts and cheese. Tip* crostino or crostone: it's just a matter of size - the first one is smaller! By clicking on the picture above you can take a closer look at what your Tuscan Antipasto will look like!