As many of you prepare to head to Montalcino for your summer wine and food tours, we are planning to publish a series of posts on Tuscan dining and Tuscan food here on the MontalcinoBlog. To get things started, here are a few classic Tuscan dishes that you will typically find on menus at Montalcino restaurants, including our own Taverna dei Barbi (see below).
pici (also called pinci) are hand-rolled noodles made with just flour and water. Once a symbol of frugal cooking, today they are considered one of Montalcino’s classic dishes. Usually served with ragù or tossed in garlic.
zuppe (soups, pl. of zuppa) nearly every Tuscan soup is a means to make use of stale bread. The most famous are ribollita, the twice-cooked soup made with kale and cannellini beans and pappa al pomodoro, meaning literally tomato mush, a soup of bread, leeks, basil, and summer tomatoes (served only in summer and always served room temperature, never hot).
pappardelle are the classic long, broad egg noodles of Tuscany, a rich dish most often dressed with ragù.
bistecca fiorentina is the Florentine steak, the same cut as the American porterhouse or T-bone but always served blood rare. The thing that sets the Florentine steak apart from the American porterhouse is the 1.5-2 inch thickness of the cut, which should always come from a young cow. The steak is cooked first standing upright on its “T” so as the heat it through without cooking the meat. And then it is finished quickly over high heat grilled on both sides. Some dress it with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. Purists serve it as is without any condiment.
You’ll find classic Montalcino dishes like these and contemporary interpretations of classic Tuscan cuisine at the Fattoria dei Barbi’s Taverna dei Barbi, a farmhouse restaurant located on the grounds of the estate where chef Lucia uses food products and produce produced on the Barbi farm.