Sunday, August 8, 2010

The culinary delights of Tuscany...

Oh, where to start? Beginning with the markets, filled right now to the brim with the harvests of the season, you will find peaches and grapes, berries and plumes, apples and different pears, and from squash and cucumbers to aubergines everything can be brought home. Onions and garlic range from pale white to brilliant purple and cooking with all these ingredience is such a delight.

Pisa market

The ripeness and taste are exquisite and I have not had so many juicy plumes in years...
The cousine is very particular Eastern Tuscan, appetizers range from cold meats - prosciutto and different types of salami - to classic brushetta and small delicious toasts with chopped liver.

Pasta is often handmade ravioli filled with spinach or squash, covered in a fine dressing of mushrooms and meatsauce. There is tagliatelle alla pomodoro and spaghetti with duck...
Dear PVE, these plates below are especially for you...

Game can be found and pork, beef steaks of enormous proportions. Rabbit is a staple. Pasta bianca with loads of freshly grated parmesan and basil leaves is of course a favorite for our children...
The one thing you can hardly find is fish, apart from some sea food appetizers, usually deep fried. I guess it's to far inland and local traditions are strong.

Often you can find at lunchtime people with a glass of local wine, sitting over a plate of bread with three, four types of meats, sausages and cheeses.
The food is hardy and simple, yet refined in taste. A wonderful site to get introduced to the delicious foods of Tuscany is WelcomeTuscany! Receipies are in English...

Grapes of Montepulciano

The wine: Locals buy their wine from vintners directly, filling up 2 gallon glass balloons with either red or white wine. We did this just like them at the beginning of our stay here. At home you fill the wine in bottles and with a satisfying popping sound you cork them in a hand operated corking machine....

The wine of Montepulciano and the neighboring regions is a great fit to the dry cheeses and olive oil. Antipasto is delicious to pair with it as well. Bread can be found typially Italian white or Panne integrale - the whole wheat version....rock hard on the outside and fairly soft inside. One has to eat it right away, storage is not an option...

Goin to small cafes at any time of the day can satisfy any appetite for Dolci, sweet cakes and delicious brioches, filled with chocolate or jams. There are so many different types of coffee we have not manage to try them all by now. Hot chocolate is a pudding like affair, eaten with a spoon, very sweet.
I love Latte Macchiato - a shot of espresso with crema and steamed milk. HMMM!
Actually asking for espresso is somewhat wrong...Italians call it Cafe normale, at least this is how we understud this. Basically everything is prepared with espresso...

A chapter by itself is of course GELATO! Every street has one or two small shops, some with incredible creations of homemade ice creams, often flavors of the week. I had to expirience this when, after a couple of days, I came back to ask for my favorite scoop of Nutella (?) infused ice cream and it had been gone from the menu...

Another place to check out Tourism in Tuscany can be found here!

We love to cook here in this enormous country kitchen, but we also explore the restaurants, often recommended by locals, our lovely host or people we happen to meet, like the two lovely Polish sisters, who happen to own a gelateria in Anghiari, where we stopped by last night and started chatting over coffee...My husband being Polish had a blast on top finding out that the ladies came from his father's small village in Masury.

A few days ago we had dropped our daughter off at a local horse farm and on our way back stopped by at an old former post station on the old mountain road between Assisi and La Verna. Now a rustic small restaurant with an excellent kitchen, we feasted on their version of local foods, pasta, meats and tomato mozarella salad.
Always a glass of vino and aqua naturale rounds up the dishes.

And strangely enough, we have not put on one more pound, simply due to our walking tours through landscapes and cities...

I am not a food critic nor am I a particular chef, but I love to eat and to detect all kinds of ingredience in a dish is a wonderful way to describe my expiriences.
I taste funghi - Chanterelle - balsamic vinegar from Modena and fruity olive oil from our farmer, lemon and rosemary, basil and fresh oregano, fennel and mint, lavender and sage...The food of Tuscany is a delight!
I am happy to be introduced to so many new local flavors and to share it a bit with you all.


Pictures via google image, as indicated and my own.(dishes, wine, corking machine, kitchen, gelato, me happy)


  1. brava! the kitchen alone looks fabulous~ thanks for the tasty tour!!!

  2. Victoria .... I hope you are having an absolutely wonderful time! I love Italy and I will definitely have some of that tagliatelle alla pomodora. BELLA! I also use the balsamic vinegar of Modena in my cooking all the time! All the photos look fantastic. Keep enjoying your special time ...
    Best wishes
    M.A. the 2nd

  3. it's a pleasure going through all those meals with you. and it was even more fun to enjoy quite a few of them with you! thanks for letting us stay with you for one of the most memorable weeks of this summer! at least one good thing about coming back was the fact that we only spent one night of dancing and meeting friends in berlin before leaving town once again. we headed to chemnitz as you know and will continue to dresden tomorrow and to bremen over the weekend. only problem: i didn't plan all of this and won't have a chance to call up susanne before monday!
    enjoy tuscany and please say hi to everyone. meanwhile i'll be here reading your blog for a little bit more and then going to the movies with lisa and two of her sisters. as you might've heard TOY STORY 3 is out now and i can't wait to see it!!
    bis kiss and truly yours e

  4. You gave us readers a fabulous culinary trip through Tuscany. Grazie, Grazie, Grazie!

  5. Wonderful post once again. A little pizza shop with a bicycle at the front is just so poetic. A great photo of you, splendidly tanned under the Tuscan sun x

  6. Yum! and you look great! Have fun and we love the posts! Diane


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