One of the highlights of any of the small group tours of Italy we offer is being able to discover whichever region you choose to visit as thoroughly as you would like. We love catering the holiday to your interests as much as possible, so if food is your vice, let us know when booking and we can recommend, not only some great places to eat and some gorgeous, traditional dishes to try, but also point you toward some fantastic cooking lessons should you wish to return home with the ability to recreate the amazing food you have tasted. |
There can be no better place to explore through food and learning to cook than Tuscany. Here are a couple of the regional dishes that you might be interested to try with some of the area’s world-renowned wine and cheeses.
Ribollita: Bread and Vegetable Soup
This is a delicious and easy dish that even beginners will master in no time. Another big advantage is that you will genuinely be able to recreate it back home, as the ingredients are readily available in any decent-sized supermarket: a leftover loaf of white bread, cannellini beans, garlic, onions, carrots, and a handful of other earthy, fibrous vegetables will suffice. The trickiest part will be getting hold of good-quality extra virgin olive oil to give the dish its distinctly Mediterranean background flavour. If you are looking for a healthy and hearty go-to dish for future dinner parties, look no further than ribollita.
Pappa al Pomodoro: Tomato, Bread, and Garlic Soup
Yet another delicious and comforting soup, this is an ideal recipe to take home with you. Popular throughout, not just Tuscany, but Italy at large, this soup is immensely versatile. It can be served chilled, at room temperature, or hot, and the garlic levels can be adapted quite easily according to the cook’s preference. For those weary of serving tomato soup as a starter, fear not: the bread makes this a substantial enough first course, while the basil, garlic, and olive oil separate it from many other blander versions of this wonderful dish.
Perfect Accompaniments: Wine and Cheese
A Tuscan meal is never complete without a healthy dose of home-grown wine and cheese. During your stay, I recommend ordering the vino della casa when you are eating out, as it is almost always a strong-bodied red wine that happily marries with traditional Tuscan dishes such as stews, meats, and soups. The two classic reds of the region are Montalcino, a dense, robust red well known throughout the world, and Montelpuciano, slightly less complex and more affordable than the higher end of the Montalcinos but equally flavoursome.
Finally, cheese lovers will be at home in Tuscany, where ancient techniques and production processes are used to create a wide variety of cheeses. We always encourage the members of our small group tours of Italy to try them out and can even arrange visits to local dairies if you are interested. From pecorino to ricotta and raviggiolo, you will want to bring back a sample for sure.
Learning how to make the traditional dishes at the heart of Tuscan cuisine is one of the most rewarding experiences those who join us in our small group tours of Italy take part in. If you have your heart set on discovering the region’s culinary highlights during your visit, there’s no better way than doing it yourself with some hands on cooking lessons!
Antonio Nobile is Tour Operator & Researcher at Caspin Journeys, a specialist provider of small group tours of Italy, England and Spain. Following in the footsteps of the company founders Pino and Caroline, he has exceptional insider knowledge and a personal devotion to all the tours he organises.
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