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A Taste Of Food And Wine In Tuscany

The Tuscan region of Italy is a food and wine lover?s delight. Modern Tuscan cooking uses fresh, locally grown ingredients, such as beans and olive oil.

Expect lunch (pranzo) or dinner (cena) to be a leisurely, unrushed affair with several courses and lots of wine. Begin with antipasto, a starter or appetizer, often incorporating local delicacies, such as pecorino cheese made from sheep?s milk.

The first course (primo piatto) traditionally consists of a pasta dish or a portion of thick, wholesome home-made soup. Favorite Tuscan soups include Pappa al Pomodoro, a thick tomato soup flavored with fresh basil; Zuppa di Cipolle, onion soup topped with Gruy?re or Fontina cheese; and Ribollita, a vegetable and bread soup of potatoes, cabbage and cannellini beans.

During the second course (secondo piatto), you will eat either meat or fish accompanied by vegetables or salad. An example of a local meat dish is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a marinated t-bone steak cooked over an open charcoal grill.

Dessert, coffee and an after-dinner liqueur, such as Amaro, will follow. For dessert, you may be able to sample Castagnaccio, or chestnut cake, made from flour milled from Tuscan chestnuts.

Many locally produced wines complement the Tuscan cuisine. The most famous local wine is Chianti, which can be served with meat and most other foods. Other local wines include Brunello di Montalcino, a matured red wine to accompany red meat and poultry; Aleatico dell?Elba, a sweet red wine; and Vin Santo, a white dessert wine.

The most important thing to do when enjoying a Tuscan meal is to slow down. In Tuscany, food is meant to be savored and not rushed. There is no such thing as "fast-food". A meal is meant to be enjoyed amongst family and friends with lively conversation. Savor each fork full and sip your wine slowly.

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For more information, visit A Tuscan Sanctuary or My Italian Year - In Tuscany.

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A Taste Of Food And Wine In Tuscany

The Tuscan region of Italy is a food and wine lover?s delight. Modern Tuscan cooking uses fresh, locally grown ingredients, such as beans and olive oi...

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