What are the best food and wine tours in Tuscany?
Given the richness of the region’s food and wine tradition, providing an answer to this question is somewhat difficult.
Those who appreciate good food and quality wine have long looked to Tuscany as a benchmark. The regional culture is based on traditional foods, top-notch wines, perfumes, flavours and aromas that serve as a trait d’union between the land and the dining table.
That’s why doing a food and wine tour in Tuscany means fully immersing oneself in the local culture, taking part in itineraries that combine the beauty of art with the flavour of regional specialities.
The best food and wine tours in Tuscany
Food and wine tours in Tuscany focus on the most coveted and well-known typical Tuscan products.
Let’s learn about the best ones:
- The white truffle of San Miniato: This tour winds through one of Italy’s most picturesque medieval villages in the heart of the Via Francigena route. The Tuber Magnatum Pico, that is, the white truffle of San Miniato, thrives best in the local hills. A truly unique and memorable food and wine experience – truffle hunting with a dog – can be enjoyed here. A tour of the medieval village and tasting of typical products rounds out the activity;
- The Tuscan Maremma and Cinta Senese cured meats: one of Tuscany’s cured meats that comes from free-range farming, where the animals are fed grass and grains like maize and barley. Bred since Etruscan times, they are distinguished by their dark coat and typical white band around the pig’s body. The food and wine tour includes a visit to the farm where Cinta Senese pigs are bred and a typical lunch featuring the prized cured meats. This will give visitors the chance to sample high-quality products, get a glimpse of farm life, and learn about the techniques and steps involved in the processing and production of cured meats;
- Tuscan extra virgin olive oil: Tuscan evo oil is one of the most important typical regional products, famous throughout Italy and the world. An impromptu food and wine tour will allow visitors to stop at olive groves to sample Tuscan IGP and Seggiano DOP extra virgin olive oil. As we move from the farm to the oil mill, where we will see the final transformation, we will learn about the various stages of production. Don’t miss a visit to the Seggiano Oil Museum.
Tuscan wine cellar tastings
One of Tuscany’s most important agricultural pursuits has always been winemaking.
Excellent wines and top-quality products popular both in Italy and abroad, can be found here.
Let’s discover the best places for Tuscan wine cellar tastings:
- Castello di Ama: we are in Gaiole in Chianti, an historic village with Etruscan origins, in the Chianti Classico region. The highest quality wines are produced here, with three Grand Selections from three different grape varieties. One of the region’s iconic wineries, Castello di Ama, is an estate that now doubles as a museum of contemporary art;
- Tenuta Sette Ponti: we are in the Upper Valdarno, between Florence and Arezzo, in a region previously inhabited by the Etruscans in the 7th century BC, and then by the Romans. It is one of the four wine-growing areas historically acknowledged as being particularly suited to vines;
- Petra, Tuscany’s most futuristic winery: located in Suvereto, in the province of Livorno, this winery successfully combines oenology, cutting-edge technology and functional architecture. A pink stone cylinder cut into a flight of steps and set into a hillside marks the gateway to this contemporary tasting tour;
- Rocca di Frassinello: this winery, designed by Renzo Piano, is located in the heart of the Grosseto Maremma. Featuring a simple, elegant architecture, its heart lies in the barrique cellar: a huge 40×40-metre underground square framed by a 20-metre wide floor for the other stages of production. The elegant Pavillion, a light-filled space in which to taste the wines, is located on the roof terrace;
- Tenuta delle Ripalte: here we are in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, on the island of Elba. The farm is situated at the top of a promontory, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. A 19th-century villa sits in the centre surrounded by smaller farmhouses, and then by Aleatico, Fiano, Alicante, Carignano and Vermentino vineyards.
The best wines in Tuscany
Tuscany is one of the regions with the most designations in Italy.
It boasts 11 DOCG, 41 DOC and 6 IGT wines.
But what are the best Tuscan wines?
Let’s find out together:
- Chianti Classico: is most likely the region’s most emblematic wine. A Sangiovese-based DOCG red wine made exclusively in the Chianti region (between the provinces of Siena and Florence). Dry flavour and intense aroma. By way of the Chianti Classico Consortium, which unites 500 producers under the Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) label, it has recently gained more recognition and protection;
- Brunello di Montalcino: a DOCG red wine produced exclusively in the municipality of Montalcino in the province of Siena, made from Sangiovese grapes. It is the Italian red wine with the greatest longevity, along with Barolo. Warm, dry, robust, harmonious and persistent on the palate;
- Carmignano: a DOCG red wine produced in the hills of Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano, in the province of Prato. According to specifications, it can be produced with the grape varieties: Sangiovese (minimum 50%), Canaiolo nero (up to 20%), Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (alone or together, from 10 to 20%), Trebbiano Toscano, Canaiolo bianco and Malvasia del Chianti (alone or combined up to a maximum of 10%), other red grapes grown in Tuscany (up to a maximum of 10% of the total). Dry, savoury, harmonious and velvety taste;
- Nobile di Montepulciano: a DOCG red wine made in the territory of Montepulciano, in the province of Siena, with Sangiovese grapes (minimum 70%) and with the possibility to use other varieties grown in Tuscany (up to a maximum of 30%). Dry, balanced, persistent flavour;
- Vernaccia di San Gimignano: a DOCG white wine produced in San Gimignano, a small area of Tuscany between Siena, Pisa and Florence. In 1966, it became the first Italian wine to bear the DOC designation. Vernaccia di San Gimignano grapes are used in its production (non-aromatic white grapes authorised or recommended for the province of Siena can also be added, up to a maximum of 15%). The flavour is dry, fresh, with good persistence, harmonious.
The best Tuscan dishes
Tasting the traditional foods of the place you’re visiting is the best way to learn about its people and culture.
With its soups, meats, pasta dishes and seafood, Tuscany is a region able to satisfy even the most demanding palates.
Let’s discover the best typical Tuscan dishes together:
- Pappa al pomodoro: one of the simplest and most emblematic dishes of Tuscan tradition. Made with salt-free stale bread, tomato, garlic, a little chilli, basil and extra virgin olive oil before serving;
- Ribollita: a quintessential winter dish. It is a soup containing cabbage, beans, onions, carrots, stale bread and extra virgin olive oil. To be served very hot. The name gives extra insight: the dish is heated in a pot with extra virgin olive oil and then boiled again, before being eaten the next day. This is what sets it apart from a standard bread soup;
- Panzanella: a cold, typically summer dish. It was already referenced by Boccaccio. It is made with stale bread, red onion and basil. Seasoned with oil, vinegar and salt. It is prepared by letting the bread soak for about ten minutes. It is then squeezed, and the other ingredients are added;
- Panigaccio: a disc of unleavened bread baked on red-hot terracotta discs over a fire. The batter is made of flour, water and salt. The panigacci are cooked on both sides and then served with cheese, Stracchino cheese, sauces and sliced meats;
- Florentine T-bone steak: arguably Italy’s most famous steak. It is made from the meat of either a steer or heifer. It is a high cut that includes the bone, to be grilled medium rare. While cooking, it should only be turned once, letting each side cook for about 5 minutes;
- Cacciucco: Tuscany’s most well-known seafood dish. It has several variants, the two main ones being “Livornese” and “Viareggina”. It is a simple fish soup made with crustaceans and molluscs. It is served with toasted garlic bread;
- Lampredotto: a strong and decisive flavour for what in Tuscany is known as “Il panino”. It is made from abomasum, one of the four stomachs of cattle, cooked for a long time in water with tomato, onion, celery and parsley. It can be eaten in a sandwich with salsa verde or as regular boiled meat;
- Castagnaccio: is a typical Tuscan dessert made with chestnut flour, sultanas, pine nuts, walnuts and rosemary. The version with orange peel, rosemary and pine nuts is the most common;
- Torta co’ bischeri: is a short pastry cake with chocolate filling, boiled rice, sultanas, pine nuts, candied fruit, nutmeg and liqueur. Its characteristic round shape and, of course, the bischeri, or shortcrust pastry decorations folded over the outer edge, are two of its most distinguishing features.