Culinary Delights


Food tastings may be added to any and all tours upon request

Pecorino Cheese

This unique cheese is made from sheep’s milk and can be found in Pienza from fresh (“fresco”) to aged (“stagionato”). Local shops carry a large array of forms, from plain to the addition of elements such as hot pepper, nuts, and truffles, to name only a few.
A private tasting of this delectable cheese can be added to any tour!

Tour: Southern Tuscany

Extra-virgin Olive Oil

No meal is complete without a sign of cold pressed, Tuscan, extra-virgin olive oil. Stretching across the Tuscan countryside, olive orchards are weaved into the magical landscape of hills, vineyards and cypress trees. Integral part of the Mediterranean diet, great love and care goes into each step of the process, from tending to the trees, to harvesting the olives, to pressing and delivering world famous oil.

Tour: Southern Tuscany

Wine

Coming to Tuscany and discovering the local “Nectar of the Gods”, known to some as wine, is a highlight of any trip. From the vineyards of the Black Rooster Chianti Classico, D.O.C. in the Chianti, to Brunello of Montalcino and San Gimignano’s Vernaccia, every sip of these distinctive wines enriches one’s visit to the area.
Tastings and Cellar tours are available on any of our tours!

Tours: Brunello, Chianti Classico, Bolgheri

Prosciutto Crudo

Though some may find Tuscan Prosciutto Crudo a little “bold” (salty), it is prized for its unique combination of dry-cured ham, pepper and herbs.
Much of the bread in Tuscany is baked unsalted, thus providing perfect company to thinly sliced Tuscan Prosciutto Crudo.
Similar ham can be found produced in Parma, though it is considered “sweet” in comparison.

Tour: Modena

Truffles

Unlikely to be found by the untrained, unexperienced hunter, Tuscan truffles owe their intrigue and prestige to this and their fragrant, delectable nature. Named “Tartufo” in Italian, this precious fungus plays an important role in both the Tuscan cultural and culinary traditions. Envied by all who know them, successful Truffle gatherers are accompanied by their faithful canine friends and their lucky spots are carefully kept secret.

Tour: Southern Tuscany

Parmigiano Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano, known to English speakers as Parmesan Cheese, is produced in a number of provinces to the north of Tuscany.
Grated on a number of pasta dishes or served in bitesized chunks, this formidable cheese is easily recognizable by its appearance, flavour and texture.

Tour: Modena

Lardo di Colonnata

Lardo di Colonnata, named after its place of origin near Massa Carrara (famous for being the site where Michelangelo chose his marble). This typical Tuscan product is a special cut of ham processed in rosemary, salt and spices in large marble containers for six months. Lardo di Colonnata has achieved the IGP Identification Geographically Protected in order to safeguard its ancient process of elaboration.

Tour: Carrara-Cinque Terre

Chocolate

If chocolate is the answer for all that ails you, two of Italy’s top five chocolate havens are within reach: Perugia, Umbria, home to Perugina Chocolate and Eurochocolate (a world famous fair) and Pistoia and the Chocolate Valley (which runs from Prato to Pisa) in Tuscany. Worthy of proper attention, tasting chocolate engages all of the senses, from the glossy shine (but not too) to the crisp sound it should make when being broken. Complex aromas and silky soft texture are perfect partners to the rich, dense, bittersweet world that open as a bite of melting chocolate unfolds in one’s mouth.

Tour: Pisa-Lucca , Perugia

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar from Modena jealously maintains DOP (“Protected Designation of Origin”) standards of excellence. A complex process of combining the “must” from exclusively Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni grapes together with wine vinegar takes 60 days to complete acetification and maturation in wooden tasks. The product may then be left to age a minimum of three years to be considered “aged” and in all cases is to be produced rigorously inside the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Tour: Modena

Honey

Practically a miracle in the making, honey plays an integral role in the culinary prestige of the Tuscan Region, making a perfect match with its wide range of fresh and aged cheeses. Its excellence is manifested in the DOP classification for Lunigiana honey (acacia and chestnut) in the provinces of La Spezia and Massa Carrara. Beekeeping and honey production in Tuscany date back centuries. Millefiori (a thousand flowers), acacia and chestnut honey are among the most popular and widely produced varieties in the area.

Tours: Brunello, Chianti Classico

Coffee

Espresso is embedded deeply in Italian lifestyle. It is as much a rite as it is a drink; invitation as it is breakfast companion. Some visitors to Italy miss how all this can be possible, judging by the sip sized second it takes to consume. However, the joy of any casual encounter is expressed by “let’s go have coffee”. Espresso, Lungo, Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffè Latte, Marocchino, Americano; all pure and simple with nothing added, but milk and perhaps sprinkled cacao powder. Coffee more than begins the day or tops off a meal…..it celebrates them.

Gelato

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between gelato and ice cream and concluded that gelato was just Italian ice cream? Well, there is more to it… While they are certainly cousins, gelato is churned more slowly, thus whipping less air into it; leaving it denser. It is also less fatty and creamy (containing more milk than cream), and yes, less cold (served at a higher temperature than ice cream in order to avoid being hard as a rock. The sugar content varies according to taste. Intensive personal research is recommended before drawing conclusions on preferences!

Tours: San Gimignano, Castellina in Chianti