A taste of the cuisine in Val d’Orcia
As the French geographer Jean Brunhes said: “Eating is incorporating a territory”. That’s why wherever the journey takes us, on the discovery of new places and new realities, the discovery of local food cannot be disregarded. It is a way of making the land, its aromas, colours, tastes and its people a part of us.
Today, we would like to briefly present some of the specialities that are typical of the cuisine in Val d’Orcia. We are sure they will win you over and they will tell you about all the splendours that you will be able to see, in just one bite.
Let’s begin from the starters: the bruschette are a real philosophy of life. White toasted bread aromatised with spices and garlic, and with extra virgin olive oil on top, enriched with spleen and fegatelli. They are the perfect starter for a traditional meal. Or you could have the pansanto, which is bread with cauliflower, oil and vinegar.
The first courses are particularly varied and tell the simple story of the Val d’Orcia. The “pici” are a fresh pasta, rigorously handmade with water and soft wheat flour, like big spaghetti. It can be prepared with complex sauces like duck ragù or simply with hard breadcrumbs. In any case they are very tasty. A typical sauce is the “aglione” sauce that enhances the taste of garlic thanks to the combination of fresh tomato sauce, a pinch of chili peppers and vinegar. It is a dish for those who want to taste the strong and decisive side of Tuscany.
For those who love vegetables there is the “zuppa di pane” (bread soup) a “masterpiece” that is just as famous as the roads lined with cypress trees that leads to San Quirico d’Orcia whose main element is bread with beans. But not any old bean, they are Tuscan kidney beans, which are accompanied by wild vegetables. And of course, you cannot have such a meal without a good Brunello di Montalcino wine. Doesn’t it make your mouths water?
The list of marvelous dishes is very long indeed, but let’s go on to the second courses. Meat is the master dish, also with its high quality game dishes. Besides the traditional steak, there are other more creative dishes like the “scottiglia” and the tripe. The first one is a mixture of different meats, veal, chicken, pork, guinea-fowl, pigeon, all cooked with aromas and spices, garlic, onion, chili peppers, with tomato passata. It is rigorously served with slices of Tuscan bread. The tripe is cooked in tomato sauce with carrots and celery and aromatised with garlic, chili peppers, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
The Val d’Orcia cuisine is simple and complicated at the same time. It uses products of the land and it doesn’t disdain products that are particularly rare like the guinea-fowl, the duck or other strong flavoured ingredients.
Are you even a little bit hungry? Good! All this and lots more can be had at the Antica Trattoria Toscana Al Vecchio Forno.