Getting to Know the Food and Drink of Tuscany

When you plan your trip to Tuscany, villas can make the perfect place to base yourself while you spend a bit of time getting to know the region, which sits on the western coast of Italy. Once you have explored the larger cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena and have gotten your fill of walking around and discovering the amazing amount of artwork and culture that permeates the area, you will need to sit down to a lovely Tuscan meal to refuel. While there, you can eat the ubiquitous pasta and breads and drink the famous wines, but why not go that extra mile and seek out the local specialties such as Chianti wine, Pecorino Toscano and the pasta from Orvieto.


If you are a regular traveller to Tuscany, villas, you may notice, often are decorated with squat bottles half-encased in a straw jacket that were the traditional indicators for one of the regions most well known wines: Chianti. The first defined area of Chianti was mentioned around 1716 as around the Tuscan cities of Radda, Castellina, and Gaiole. In 1932, the region was expanded to include the towns of Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Rùfina. The vast region is covered by the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), or the DOC, which is a guarantee of product quality and control and has strict regulations regarding the amount of grapes used in production, and more stringently, the aging process involved in the Chianti Superiore. The wines themselves tend to be medium bodied with a range of acidity and pair nicely with most Italian foods and meats.

Pecorino Toscano

When spending a bit of time in the region of Tuscany, villas make a great base for exploring the area in detail. Once you have gone to do a wine tasting at a local Chianti winery and have brought back a few bottles to your villa, head back into town or to an artisianal cheese maker's farm to get a block of the local Pecorino Toscano. Pecorino Toscano is a firm textured cheese made from full cream and pasteurised ewe's milk. Though it has a short maturation period of only 20 days, the Pecorino Toscano is usually served as a hard cheese, which requires it to have up to four months of maturation, during which it is often washed with crushed tomatoes, ash and olive oil. The cheese has a strong flavour and is often used with wines, as a starter, or grated over dishes as you would use a parmesan. In 1986 it was granted a Denominazione di Origine status, which was upgraded to DOCG status in 1996.

Pici Pasta

Once you have purchased your cheese and wine, you need to grab a bit of local pasta before heading back into your retreat in Tuscany. Villas near the city of Siena will give you excellent access to local shops that can provide you with the Sienese pici or pinci pasta. The dough for the pasta is rolled into thick sheets before being cut into strips and rolled to create pasta that is thicker than spaghetti and slightly thinner than a pencil. Like other food products, pasta in Italy is a source of pride and regulated by the government. Dried pastas can only be made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina, which is commonly used in the southern parts of Italy; in the northern parts, they prefer the egg pastas which are equally controlled in regards to purity of ingredients.