The food and the wine
The tuscan cuisine is traditionally hearty and made with simple ingredients – ones easily found in the countryside – with bread, beans and roasted meats serving as the base of most traditional Tuscan meals.
Start your meal with an antipasto (appetizer) of cured sliced meats or affettati misti or try something more particular and order crostini di fegato, thin slices of lightly toasted bread spread with a chicken liver pate.
Try the ribollita, a vegetable and bread soup that functions as a delicious and classic comfort food. Pappa al pomodoro, a tomato soup with old bread, is perfect for the winter and during summer you have the panzanella, a kind of cold salad of bread soaked in balsamic vinegar and mixed with onions and tomatoes, basil all topped with olive oil of course!
A typical tuscan first course are the pappardelle al cinghiale, very wide egg noodles in a strong-sauce made from wild boar; the pappardelle are also frequently served with mushrooms.
All the previous courses are delicious, but the queen of the tuscan cuisine is the bistecca alla fiorentina; this large T-bone steak is so thick that it must be cooked on its front, back and side and usually weighs three to four pounds. Though delicious, this is one meal to split with a friend! Don't try to ask it well done, if you don't want to upset the waiter, you have to eat it rare, soft and juicy!
Finish your meal with classic Tuscan cantucci dipped in vin santo. Dunk these hard almond cookies in to a small glass of sweet dessert wine to soften them and clean your palate after a great meal!
Tuscany is also the home of some of the best wine in the world (ever heard of the Supertuscans?): Sassicaia, Brunello di Montalcino, Ornellaia, Guado al Tasso and many others are all here!