A journey into traditional Tuscan cuisine

by Redazione Fine Taste

Fine Taste aims to seek out high-quality Italian artisan products, with a strong territorial identity, but not only that. As travelers we can only appreciate every Italian region for what good it has to offer us; immersing yourself in the local culture also means discovering the local cuisine and the dishes that most characterize it.

We want to start our Italian journey from Tuscany, a land of immense art and culture, a region that is certainly ready to satisfy even the most demanding palates. From first courses to soups, up to the use of meat and game, the proposals of this cuisine are varied and the preparations have ancient origins.

Here is a list of dishes that simply cannot be missing on a Tuscan table and which are definitely worth trying.

Bread without salt

Bread without salt is a custom that few other regions have adopted (like Umbria). It seems that the custom dates back to the 12th century when, at the height of the rivalry between Pisa and Florence, the Pisans put into practice very high prices for the precious sodium chloride (although there is another hypothesis which says that it was the lords of Florence themselves who impose particularly high taxes for the use of salt).

In Tuscany the need to use bread even when it is stale has produced a long series of ancient recipes that are still very widespread: panzanella, panata, ribollita, acquacotta, tomato soup, fettunta, vegetable soup, farinata, black cabbage soup or Pan co' santi.

Pappa al pomodoro

One of the dishes with the simplest ingredients in the world and perhaps for this reason one of the most loved. Like many other dishes of poor cuisine, among the main ingredients there is stale bread (strictly without salt) combined with other simple ingredients such as tomato, garlic, a little chilli pepper, basil and  drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil.


Ribollita is one of the most popular dishes, it is a soup that contains different types of cabbage (black cabbage stands out), beans (borlotti, toscanelli or cannellini), onions and carrots. It is a winter dish that should be served very hot. To make the soup better, the black cabbage must have "got frozen", that is, it must have undergone one or more winter frosts which soften its leaves and make it sweeter. Another feature is to "boil" the bread soup in the wood-fired oven for those who have it, in any case in a pan with a thick bottom to prevent it from sticking and burning. It is customary to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the "ribollita" and slice a fresh onion.


This dish was mentioned by none other than Boccaccio, originally from Certaldo, in the mid-14th century and by Bronzino, a famous Florentine Renaissance painter, who wrote a poem about it. Panzanella is a unique traditional Tuscan dish made with stale bread, red onion and basil, all seasoned with oil, vinegar and salt. For this recipe you must leave the bread to soak in water for about ten minutes, then squeeze it and add the other ingredients, which in addition to those already mentioned can include tomatoes and cucumber and many other versions that change from chef to chef. The dish is served cold, which is why it is one of the typical dishes of the Tuscan summer.

Acqua Cotta

Acquacotta is a typical dish of the cuisine of the Lower Maremma and its hinterland, it is a simple soup, which varies from area to area depending on the availability of the ingredients. The main ingredient of the dish are vegetables, at the time harvested directly in the countryside; to these were added bread, olive oil and salt. The vegetables vary greatly depending on the period in which this dish is prepared, you can use broccoli, wild chicory, cabbage, green beans, borage, dandelion and any vegetable that can add flavour. To increase its nutritional value, animal fats such as pork rind or lard chopped with a knife are sometimes added. The latter was often used to prepare sautéed garlic and onion in a pot as the start of the recipe. In the most popular version in Tuscany, the dish involves the use of onion, tomato, water, olive oil, celery, carrot, basil, toasted stale homemade bread, grated pecorino, egg.


Typical first course of Lunigiana (but according to sources it already dates back to ancient Rome) is a simple pasta dish, which is prepared by mixing soft wheat flour, water and salt to form crepes of variable sizes (up to 40-50 cm in diameter), with a thickness of 3-5 mm maximum. Once ready, the testarolo is cut into diamonds of about 5 cm per side and, after having soaked it in boiling water, it should be seasoned according to tradition: oil, basil and cheese. In Pontremoli the testaroli are still cooked on the stove composed of a "sottono" and a "soprano" (base and lid), heated over a high flame produced with dry beech wood, so that no water vapor is created and a perfect aroma is released.

Florentine steak

Certainly one of the best known dishes of Tuscan cuisine, the Florentine steak, also called simply Florentine, is a high cut of veal or scottona meat (originally of the Chianina breed) including the bone, to be cooked on the grill, with cooked "rare". A delicacy.


It is a typical poor dish and the most common Florentine street food, still very widespread in the Tuscan capital thanks to the presence of numerous kiosks of the so-called "lampredottai". Made from one of the four sections of the cattle stomach, the abomasum, it involves cooking for a long time in water with tomato, onion, parsley, carrot and celery. It can be enjoyed both as a normal boiled meat seasoned with green sauce, and in the way most loved by Florentines, i.e. cut into small pieces as a filling for a Tuscan sandwich.


Typical desserts of the Tuscan culinary tradition, cantucci are dry almond biscuits, obtained by cutting the still hot loaf of dough into slices and baking it again for a second cooking. Excellent accompanied with good vin santo. The dough is made of flour, sugar, eggs, almonds, butter: you can replace the sugar with honey and the butter with olive oil. The almonds are neither toasted nor peeled.

Panforte di Siena

One of the oldest traditional Sienese desserts, dating back to the Middle Ages, Panforte is the result of the processing and baking in the oven of a dough based on the highest quality raw materials: flour, candied fruit, almonds, sugar, honey and spices (originally also some pepper). Panforte is also excellent paired with vin santo.

If you enjoyed this little journey into traditional Tuscan cuisine and felt like trying some specialties, we would like to point out the products of the Radici Agricultural Company which, thanks to the long experience accumulated in the field of organic farming and the transformation of agricultural products, creates a series of specialties that are typical of the truest and most genuine Tuscany, recipes obtained from the combination and juxtaposition of tastes and flavors that are often forgotten but which also present characteristics of exclusivity and refinement.