Things to Know About Tuscan Food Before a Vacation
by Tours of Tuscany
Things to Know About Tuscan Food Before a Vacation
Italy is an absolutely stunning location, with regions like Tuscany being an excellent example of what to expect. If you decide to pay this part of the world a visit, you’re likely to find that there are many differences to the lifestyle that you may not have anticipated. There are many things to consider with food and drinks alone; from the sizes of meals, to when you should eat dinner. If you’re hoping to get the most out of your time here, it may be a good idea to take a closer look at a few of the things that you don’t already know.
With this in mind, the professionals who work at our first-class tour company want to give you some information that we feel is important to the little details of a trip. This could be beneficial for almost anyone, particularly those who haven’t been to this part of Italy before.
Breakfasts are often quite small
If you want to be ready for a day of exploring this stunning part of Italy, you should eat a good breakfast to give you energy for the day ahead. Eating out is a popular option for most tourists, but it’s important to know that in the majority of establishments here, an ordinary breakfast consists of a small pastry or brioche and a coffee. While nice, you may want to have a bigger meal at home or take some extra food with you.
The meals here are often regionally based
You’ll find a wide variety of traditional Italian foods here, although each part of Tuscany is going to have different meals, specialties, and variations. This makes eating out in local establishments a fantastic experience no matter where you are, so in most cases, it’s well worth trying a meal if you’re exploring a new area.
Learn a bit more about the foods you could try
What should you order when you arrive at a restaurant and are presented with a variety of meals? On one hand, you could simply order anything, but the smarter idea is to do a little research on the different kinds of foods in this part of Italy (or at least the most common ones), so you have an idea of what tastes will be best suited to your palette. A few great options include:
- Bistecca all Fiorentina
- Cannoli (while available in a number of areas, keep in mind that it’s a specialty in Sicily)
There are also many great deserts to try out too, like panforte di Siena or cantucci, so don’t pass up the opportunity to give them a try if you like sugary foods.
You can purchase espressos and cappuccinos for less
One of many things to look forward to is the lower costs of cappuccinos (€1.50) and espressos (€1.00). If you’re a fan of either, you’re going to want to take a break from your travels to enjoy a nice, Italian coffee at least once. Latte means milk here, so be sure to ask for un caffe con latte instead.
Eating out? Make sure you get to a restaurant in time
Most restaurants will close at 3pm at the most, with lunch generally being served at 1pm. There’s nothing quite like a traditional Tuscan meal, so you might want to stop by an eatery on time instead of visiting one of the many tourist restaurants that are open all day. A substantial meal is important, as it keeps you going until dinner, which is generally served at 8pm (although there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying a snack, like a Panini for example, in the meantime).
Bars in Italy
You may be thinking of places to buy alcoholic drinks – but here, cafés are commonly called bars instead. They’re not quite the same as the cafes that you might see where you live though, although there are a few like this. In general, these establishments are meant for quick coffee breaks from work, so it’s far more common to stand up with your coffee, drink, and get on with your day.
Coperto fees and tipping in eateries
Tipping is certainly appreciated, but it’s not necessary – unlike the coperto charge you’ll see in most establishments. This fee covers the cost of cutlery and plates, plus bread if it’s served before the meal. Not all eateries charge a coperto, but it’s wise to remember that the majority of them do (you can check on the menu, where the fee is likely to be listed).
Find top quality, Tuscan gelato
Nothing quite compares to a delicious gelato from Italy, especially in this fantastic region. It’s important to make sure that you find the right gelateria, though. Some are more focused on producing as many as they can to satisfy a crowd of tourists, and these ones don’t tend to offer the quality that you should be looking for. Shops that say either artigianale or gelato artigiano are typically ones that you should buy from, since this means that they use quality ingredients in their gelato.
Introduce yourself to fine wine
Tuscany isn’t called the wine region for nothing, so when visiting, you simply must try a few of these amazing beverages. Some of Italy’s greatest wines are produced here, and whether you’re a casual drinker or a connoisseur; we’re certain that you’ll want to visit a local vineyard or winery and taste the incredible varieties that they make, each one unique to that specific area. For example, you’re likely to find that there are many differences between those produced in Chianti compared to Bolgheri wines (all of which are worth a try).
Enjoy the amazing cheeses
Like France, Italy is a country that produces delicious cheese that you simply must try if you stop by, and fortunately for you, Tuscany has a few great varieties of its own. Pecorino is an excellent example, and we’d advise that anyone visiting has some if they get the chance; especially when visiting an area like Val d’Orica or Pienza (as it’s a specialty in these areas). Aged or fresh, you’re sure to agree that it’s simply beautiful.