Six Tuscan National Dishes that You Have to Try
Tuscany isn’t just rolling patchwork fields, red wine and stunning Renaissance cities. The Tuscan Islands are simply beautiful with golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a character coastline with plenty of lovely anchorages. However, it isn’t just leaning towers and Renaissance artwork that you should be visiting the region for – Tuscany’s food is unmissable! This post looks at the foods you need to look out for on your Tuscan sailing holiday, whether you’re just popping onto the mainland for lunch, or soaking up the culture and cuisine for an evening.
Bistecca Alla Fiorentina
This, simply put, is steak, Tuscan-style! A recipe as old as Florence itself, it’s a thick-cut T-Bone beef steak, aged for around two weeks before being chargrilled close to the coals and served rare for a juicy and smoky taste. Traditionally you’ll find it served with cannellini beans and salad, and for the wine enthusiasts, try pairing it with a Chianti.
In Tuscany, nothing says summer like a bowl of Panzanella. It’s a relatively simple salad but comes together so nicely – stale bread is soaked in water and then dried, before being paired with tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and seasoning. Basil and onions are also generally accepted, though anything else is likely to anger the traditionalists. You can enjoy Panzanella as a starter or a main course – given how simple it is, you could even try making it yourself on your yacht!
Coccoli Prosciutto & Stracchino
Coccoli are any Tuscan’s favourite plate of antipasto. You’ll find these throughout the region, from the menus of restaurants to little street food sellers and hole-in-the-wall style traders. It’s a very simple dish, essentially being fried bread balls, but they are often stuffed with prosciutto and a soft cheese called stracchino. Perfetto!
This final dish is perfect for your yacht charter, as it’s a speciality of the coastal towns of Livorno and Viareggio. Cacciucco is a hearty fish stew, and can contain up to five different varieties of fish and shellfish including scorpionfish, red snapper, mussels and shrimp to name a few. Traditionalists also add a stone from the sea to the dish, just make sure you don’t try and eat that…
This comes with a very high reputation, being touted as the ‘King of the Panini’! Traditionally a poor person’s dish, Lampredotto involves the fourth stomach of a cow being boiled in a herbal, tomato broth, then cut into strips, topped with salsa verde and olive oil and finally served in a bread roll. It has been sold on the streets of Tucsany since at least the 15th century, and the food continues to be just as popular today. Perfect lunch on your yacht.
Dessert time! Castagnaccio is most commonly found in autumn, but you should have no problem finding it all year round, given that it is extremely popular amongst locals and visitors alike. It’s essentially a gluten-free chestnut cake, also containing nuts and raisins. You may find local variations; keep an eye out for ‘toppone’ in Livorno, as well as variations that involve orange rind and rosemary. Wine lovers should eat Castagnaccio alongside a sweet wine such as Vin Santo.
Hopefully after reading this, you’ll know exactly what you are looking for when it comes to Tuscan cuisine. There’s no point heading to Tuscany and not sampling all the best it has to offer – whether that’s idyllic coastlines for a yacht charter, architecture, or fantastic food!