As Autumn progresses and winter begins to creep in, Tuscany transforms in smells, taste and scenery. The fresh air of the valleys travelling all the way down from the Apuan Alps bring with it colder weather and a new lease of life for the Tuscan landscape. You can often hear the mating call of the local male deer, which informs locals of the first cold temperatures of the season.
As well as the staple tastes of Tuscany – wine, olive oil and truffles – Autumn brings a whole new range of ingredients, smells and flavours. The new season signifies a change in menus; the chance to experience a different side of Italian and Tuscan cooking to the summer tourist favourites of pizza and pasta.
Chestnuts are an autumnal treat and symbol of the changing seasons in Tuscany. They are at their best from mid-September to November, used in all types of recipes and essential in many traditional family dishes. Chestnuts are high in protein and an excellent addition to any dish, whether roasted, ground or dried. Pick your own chestnuts and explore the stunning Tuscan landscape as it transitions into winter!
Like most of Europe, Autumn signifies the beginning of the hunting season. At this time of year fresh game emerges into the restaurant scene and traditional family dishes. Quintessential Tuscan dishes include pheasant, quail, wild hare and boar, which can be stewed down into sauces for pasta or soups, roasted or barbequed. These flavoursome meats are a staple during Autumn and going into winter, and essential for the flavours of the season.
What grows together, goes together. At this time of year figs, pears and apples are in abundance. These succulent fruits are key ingredients, bringing sweetness to many traditional Tuscan meals and pairing well with contrasting flavours and textures of salami, cheeses and olives. If you can’t wait to experience Tuscany in Autumn, bring the taste of the region to you! We suggest using figs in your antipasto platters and stews, apples to add sweetness in roasts, and to round off the meal, poached pears with ice cream or dark chocolate.
When the brilliant Chef Eddie G stayed with us at Cignella, his excellent feast featured all Tuscan ingredients and showcased the best of traditional, seasonal cooking. Check out his flavoursome dishes and seek inspiration for your next culinary adventure: