Food & Drinks

10 Traditional Foods to Try in Tuscany

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10 Traditional Foods to Try in Tuscany
Photo Francesco Sgroi/Flickr

Tuscany remains one of the most sought after destinations in Italy, with its popularity showing no signs of waning. From the nature and the monuments, the Renaissance and Middle Ages art and architecture, to the rolling hills and sunny coastline, it doesn't take much to understand why.

And when it comes to the robust and rustic Tuscan kitchen, hearts beat a little harder for the region's superb local cuisine. Between a 'pappa al pomodoro' and 'ribollita', a lamprey and panzanella (in good company slopes of the vineyards, of course), the region is largely unrivalled.

The same applies to traditional Tuscan food products. Whilst making a complete list is impossible, we have gathered some of the most unusual, strange or otherwise interesting culinary specialties of the region, many of them protected by the Slow Food Association.

Here are 10 typical Tuscan food products to get acquainted with next time you're lucky enough to find yourself in the region.

1. BIROLDO DELLA GARFAGNANA (Black pudding from Garfagnana)


One of the best Italian salamis on offer, this 'Slow Food' recognised black pudding is made ​​with pig's head, heart, tongue and plenty of spices, including nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and star anise. It's soft texture is perfectly balanced on the palate with a suprisingly delicate flavour. It's usually enjoyed on slices on bread – whether typical of the region or even chestnut or potato bread.

2. Guttus

Photo: Parrina

A type of sheep's milk gorgonzola – it's said that the unusual name of 'Guttus' comes from a Etruscan prince. The cheese is aged for at least four months following which the mouldy rind gives the cheese an intense and spicy flavour, making it ideal to enjoy paired with chocolate or honey.

3. Bottarga di Orbetello (Salted, cured fish roe from Orbetello)

Photo: Cucine d'Italia

The tradition of preserving fish in Orbetello goes back many years. This mullet roe is excellent eaten in thin slices or decadently grated over spaghetti. 

4. Mortadella di Prato

Photo: Slow Food Foundation

Less famous than mortadella from Bologna, mortadella from Prato still deserves a prominent place amongst the Italian cold cuts. Its enticing aroma makes it particularly unique thanks to the addition of alcherme (an Italian liquor used in sweets). 

5. Sfratto Dei Goym (The Eviction of Goym)

Photo: Slow Food Foundation

A traditional Jewish sweet, the name originates from an episode in 1600 Pitigliano, when Cosimo II de Medici decided to re-locate the Jews into one designated neighbourhood. The announcement of the eviction was made by a messenger beating the door with a stick. Hence 'the eviction of Goym' has the symbolic elongated shape of a cane and comes stuffed with nuts, honey and orange zest.

6. Pesca Regina di Londa (The Queen of Londa Peach)

Photo: teladoiofirenze

A regal peach in both name and appearance, The Queen of Londa has white flesh, a green and red skin, and a sweet and fragrant pulp. On the second Sunday of September a party is held in honour of Queen Londa, during which an award is made of the best box of peaches.

7. Farro della Garfagnana (Spelt from Garfagnana)

Spelt from Garfagnana also has its own festival, as well as a starring role in hundreds of recipes, from a cake with spelt and ricotta to bread with potatoes and spelt.

Thanks to the work of the Mountain Community of the Garfagnana and the Slow Food Consortium, the cultivation of this corn is experiencing a renaissance.

8. Fagiolo Zolfino (Zolfino Beans)

Photo: Alimentipedia

Legumes are an important part of Tuscan farming traditions. Whilst it's hard to choose between almost 23 different types of locally cultivated beans, Zolfino is definitely worth a try: the small, rotund bean is ideal for soups, lending a velvety texture.

9. Cipolla di Certaldo (Onions from Certaldo)

Photo: Slow Food Foundation

Certaldo is a city big in onions, even being represented on the city's flag. In culinary terms, Certaldo onions are suitable for use in almost every course and particularly delicious in soups and stews.

10. TESTAROLO ARTIGIANALE PONTREMOLESE (Artisanal Testarolo from Pontremoli)

This light and easily digestable dish is produced from an unusual dough made with a sort of unleavened bread, cut into diamonds, and boiled. It comes served with pesto (as Liguria is nearby) or Pecorino, Parmesan, olive oil and basil.

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