Finocchiona is the most typical Tuscan salami with a unique flavor, thanks to the aroma of fennel which is used in seeds and/or flowers in the dough and with a soft consistency. The combination of the best (certified) Italian meats and the artisanal recipe give life to the Finocchiona IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) which is obligatorily marked "IGP". We use the Tuscan bread with it.
Cinta Senese, the meat of this pork, which is called "di cinta" (cinta = belt) owes its name to the white fur belt on the back that surrounds its body, which is dark for the remaining part. The particular aroma of its meat is due to the disciplinary for which it is bred in the wild. An animal that weighs 40-50 kg at a young age weighs up to 300 kg in adulthood.
The meat is used both in the fresh version, cooked on the grill, in a pan, on a spit or in the oven, but also processed like cold cuts: from fresh sausage to ham, from "Buristo" to "Sopressata", "Capocollo", "Pancetta", and Cinta Senese Ragout. Pappardelle or penne pasta are perfect for enjoying it.
Lardo di Colonnata IGP (protected geographical indication) is a very precious salami with a, whose name derives from the homonymous village located on the rugged slopes of the Apuan Alps, in the municipality of Carrara. Produced with pork lard, it is aged in basins of precious Carrara marble.
The basins, previously rubbed with garlic, are preserved in rooms with controlled temperature and humidity so that the finished product takes on unique characteristics. The salting process depends on the producers but, in addition to sea salt, fresh minced garlic, rosemary, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and star anise cannot be missing. The full tank up to the top is covered and, after careful periodic checks, it is reopened after a period ranging from six to ten months later and in any case when the seasoning is completed.
The best way to enjoy it is simply sliced: taste it without bread anyway, you can fully appreciate the complexity and elegance of this salami. And while the other Tuscan cured meats are perfect for pairings with Sangiovese-based red wine, the Lardo di Colonnata the best wine to combine is sparkling one, better Classic Method, preferably rather dry and complex one.
Salame Toscano is a seasoned pork salami made with the use of spices, with a compact consistency, a very intense aroma, and flavor. The lean parts of the pig are used (ham, shoulder, neck), they are finely chopped and combined with the fat obtained from the dorsal part cut into cubes to then mix everything with the aromas: salt, peppercorns, red wine, garlic. The seasoning lasts from 20 days to 12 months depending on its size. Perfect to be enjoyed with Tuscan bread and Sangiovese-based red wine.
Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) IGP (Protected Geographical Indication), expresses strong territorial authenticity, typicality, and bond. Certified by the Community IGP mark, it is subject to the rules of a strict production specification. To facilitate recognition for consumers, it is marked with a special Tuscan IGP stamp. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular foods on the gastronomic scene.
It has a strong, intense flavor, it finds its perfect use in typical Tuscan cuisine, where simple, genuine, but strong flavors enhance the raw materials. To enjoy it at its best, use it raw: simply on Tuscan bread, on bruschetta, on "Panzanella" dish, soups, or simply a drizzle of oil with flavoured pasta.
Piciis a type of pasta generally made by hand, similar to spaghetti but wider, typical of southern Tuscany. The name Pici derives from the verb "to stick", for how they are pulled by hand. However, we also use the dry version of Pici pasta. Tuscan typical Pici recipe is called "Pici all'Aglione" with the use of a specific type of garlic: Aglione della Valdichiana, DOP as well. We also have an easy-to-make version of this recipe on our blog.
Cantucci are the typical sweets whose origin is claimed by many important Tuscan cities from Prato to Siena, to indicate the best known, and dates back to around the 16th century. For some, the name derives from "cantellus", which in Latin means "piece or slice of bread", or a salty biscuit used by Roman soldiers. For others, the term cantuccio derives from "canto", angle, a small part that refers to the cutting format. We find these delicious biscuits since the second half of the 1500s at the Medici court, still in the version without almonds.
About a century later the "Accademia della Crusca" elaborated the first definition of "cantuccio" indicated as "sliced biscuit, fine flour, with sugar and egg white". Only at the end of the XXIX century, in the version, now more widespread with almonds, the cantucci began to be produced in the whole region which in 2016 obtained the recognition of Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) referring to the entire administrative territory. The Tuscan tradition Cantuccio is consumed soaking it in the Vinsanto, a sweet wine typical of the territory. But please don't do it with excellent Cantucci and high-quality Vinsanto, rather accompany them. You will appreciate the best flavors of both without devastating the craftsmanship of producers who put love, passion, and commitment in their creations.
The Ricciarelli of Siena, whose history is full of charm on the edge of legend, are sweets always prepared in Siena and in the surrounding area. It is believed that their origin is closely related to marzipan and the Orient from which it arrived in the courts of Europe starting from the XXV century. But how did the marzipan set in the city of the Palio? According to the most accredited historical sources, marzipan was brought to Siena as throughout Europe by the Burmese city of Martapan and hence the origin of the name; according to others, the name of this biscuit derives from the typical containers in which it was kept in Arabic called "mauthban".
Whatever the origin of the marzipan name, you may be wondering what all this has to do with the Ricciarelli. In our story, the figure of Ricciardetto Della Gherardesca enters the scene who, according to legend, brought these sweets, "curled" in shape like the shoes of a sultan, to Siena returning from the Crusades. The recipe was handed down over the years, indeed over the centuries, enriched according to the "new" and winning Sienese version with the covering of icing sugar like Panforte.
Regarding the Panforte rivers of ink could arise. Consumed above all at Christmas time, that irresistible mixture of almonds, honey, and spices, represents a real delight for Italians and for all those who are lucky enough to taste it. Almost certainly it is the best known and the oldest of the spiced bread and concerning its origin, to be placed in the late Middle Ages, it is said that the first panforte was produced by Berta, a nun who prepared a flatbread by mixing honey, flour and candied fruits, along with a wide variety of spices including ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Since the Middle Ages, the recipe of the Panforte has not undergone great changes and among the most known and most appreciated variants, we remember the white one and the chocolate one. The first one, with icing sugar, was prepared for the first time in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy who came to Siena in 1879 for the Palio and from here the dessert is also called Panforte Margherita.
The most interesting combination to discover all the flavors is with blue cheeses: it will surprise you!
Panpepato instead is a variant of panforte where the ingredients change slightly. Taste it with blue cheeses: an excellent pre-dessert or an alternative to dessert and it goes perfectly.
According to popular tradition, the first step that led to the invention of the Copate must be attributed to the nuns of Montecelso, well known for the creation of the Panpepato as well. These ingenious sisters, having heard that the "colleagues" of the Convent of San Baronto in Lamporecchio (obviously in Tuscany...) have produced religious hosts, making them softer and pleasant with the addition of honey. These sweets, in the early times known as "nebulae", immediately deserved a place of honor on feast days for their goodness.
The definitive version of Copate, now known and appreciated, was reached with the enlightened intervention of a monk of the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, who mixed with sugar, honey, toasted and shredded walnuts, cooking everything over moderate heat. Once cooled, this caramelized mixture was spread between two hosts. In later versions, cocoa was added and in more recent times the whipped egg yolks made the mixture almost white.