Tuscany is the fifth largest region in Italy. Wedged deeply like a triangle in the heart of Italy, it constitutes a transitional, area between the Po Delta and Liguria, which are highly industrialized, and those Italian regions which are still principally agricultural.
It stretches over the western side of the Apennines and includes the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. It lies on the sea to the west and south-west and borders with Liguria to the north-west, Emilia-Romagna to the north, the Marches and Umbria to the east, and Latium to the south-east.
Simplicity and sobriety are the fundamental characteristics of Tuscan cooking. Surprisingly, cooking historians consider it the mother of French cuisine. It all began with the arrival in France of Catherine di Medici's Florentine cooks.She married Henry II on October 20, 1533. A girl of 14, she was accompanied by an army of dressmakers, hairdressers, perfumeries, dancing instructors, cooks and pastry makers.
It is said that the latter revolutionized the art of gastronomy, teaching generations of French cooks.
Flattering, but far from the truth. Of all the regional Italian cooking, that of Tuscany is the most removed from French cuisine. It is spare, made from four or five essential ingredients, avoiding those sauces called "messes." If the French learned anything from their Italian queen it was the art of setting the table and that of pastry and candy-making.