Tuscany For The Best Food And Wine

Tuscany is one of those places in the world, that once you have visited it, you are bitten by the ‘bug’ and somehow you always end up comparing future destinations to it, usually unfavourably.

Somehow there is nowhere else in the world it is possible to compare Tuscany to. The Italians themselves sometimes try it…Umbria and then Puglia were touted as the ‘new Tuscany’ but putting it simply, there is only one Tuscany. Cities like Florence, crammed with Renaissance art wherever you walk, cities and towns like San Gimignano and Siena, Arezzo and more all have so much beauty and art, its incomparable with anything except what Italy might be able to offer somewhere else.

One of the main attractions for Italy and Tuscany itself is the cuisine: home of the best food in the world. It is a safe argument when you think about how well replicated Italian food is globally. Italian food is not just pizza and pasta but an assortment of grilled meats, elegant desserts and stunning aperitifs. Pasta is of course an art form…not just spaghetti but gnocchi, ravioli, linguini, macaroni…more and more than can be listed here. Pizza – the choice of toppings is actually only limited by ones imagination. As regards wine to help wash it down, there is of course the famous aperitif ‘Prosecco’, a sparkling dry white wine which is very popular and significantly cheaper than champagne, although in many cases more palatable. The wines themselves vary from the Super Tuscans, Barolo and the like to the lighter and readily available Chianti wines, many of us are already familiar with. White whites – the Pinot Grigio from the Veneto area is well know, as is Soave and Orvieto (from the town / area of the same region).

When quizzed on live radio about what Italians regard as the most important ingredient in Italian cooking (following discussions on truffles, garlic, herbs and so on) the chef replied simply ‘its the passion’. Having eaten in Italy regularly, one knows when one has food with this special ingredient long before it arrives at your plate: simply watch the pride by which the food is delivered to your table by the waiter.

The food should not be judged just by the surrounds either. Many people remember the best food being served in a typical trattoria, family run in a small village, food cooked to ‘nonnas’ ancient recipes handed down between generations than from a corporate city centre restaurant by ‘trained’ chefs. What is almost certain, both in former and latter examples, the food will still be good!

In a country so dependent on tourism, in tricky waters at the moment, it is good to know that Italy has so much to offer, not just in cultural delights and architecture, but also in cuisine. One will be forever familiar with Italy on the tourist map for culture, cuisine and the friendliness of the people, but visitors will always ask themselves in which order they prefer those three things. The most important aspect about Italian cuisine and sights is that they do vary subtly from region to region, such is the pride of the individal, as much as the national pride at stake, the attempts to out do each other and be the best can only benefit the end consumer: the tourist.

Dan Thompson Quality Villas Ltd Tel : 0044 (0) 1442 870055 http://www.qualityvillasitaly.co.uk


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