Arriving in Lucca, you will be in awe of the impressive perimeter fence of Lucca, a wonderful town in the heart of Tuscany. Lucca is only 18 km from Pisa and 70km from Florence. Although it is not a big city, it is one of the emblems of Tuscan art, history and tradition.
Eating the traditional dish of this stunning town, certainly means tasting the spelt soup “lucchese” style, a vegetable soup composed of spelt, vegetables, beans and pork belly that will tickle and please even the most sensitive palate. Spelt is a poor but very ancient cereal, whose production has been slowly dying out over the time. It's still living here, in the Garfagnana region, and produced at a very high quality standard level. In Lucca it's still kept shining in ancient stone mills and is used for making soups and cakes.
In this precious Tuscan gem, all is related to the arts. The town is where the great composer Puccini was born: his opera works are performed several times a year by the church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, a deconsecrated church with strong evocative artistic charm. If you go there, you can’t miss the stunning roman baptistery.
Beer belongs to the traditions of Lucca since the Austrian immigrant Felix Pfanner brought it to the city in 1846. In the wonderful Pfanner Palace (in the picture), which dates back to 17th Century, it is possible to visit the ancient cellars. Nowadays, a good beer can be tasted and purchased by the brewery La Petrognola, where it's been produced since 2002, strictly with local raw materials. It produces red beers, mildly alcoholic, made with amber and black chestnuts.
Garum is an ancient ingredient that had been broadly overlooked for hundreds of years before it gained popularity in New Nordic cuisine. Kiki Aranita takes a deep dive into the world of this oft-forgotten fermented flavour-booster.
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.