A journey into taste with Vetrina Toscana
Let's discover together the excellences of this extraordinary territory and where to taste them
Good food is a sensory experience that goes beyond the senses. It can whet your palate, intoxicate your smell, lights up your eyes, and even stimulate your senses of hearing and touch with its different textures, and in doing so, it induces a feeling of pleasure and well-being as well as evoke old memories. Not forgetting the importance of what we eat and how it affects our health and our quality of life. We are what we eat, stated the great Philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, away back in the nineteenth century. To be able to rely on a territory with excellent products is a truly valuable resource. This occurs in Tuscany whose excellent food is an essential part of its appeal and it reflects the beauty of the landscapes, history, lifestyle and culture of this region. An excellent guide to discover this vast heritage is Vetrina Toscana, an original project organised by the region and Unioncamere which combines the authenticity of the territory with local production to recount all the good things about Tuscany through the portal www.vetrina.toscana.it.
A land where living is a pleasure, attentive to the balance between man and the environment and open to cultural growth, the place of an ‘eternal Renaissance’ that has become a real lifestyle. Exploring it is not only about its landscapes, but also its flavours and traditions with more than 600 high quality local products with characteristics which vary within a few kilometres, depending on the history of the place and its territory, as Tuscany is extremely diverse when going from the sea to the mountains.
A biodiversity that is rarely found in other places in the world and that is home to a multitude of varied products, starting from those that depend directly on the terroir - factors such as greater or lesser exposure to the sun, a more saline soil in the areas located closer to the sea, temperatures more or less mild, humidity… - that deeply affects the agricultural produce. Products such as olive oil that just in Tuscany has more than 100 varieties; among the most famous are Leccino with its delicate flavour, Frantoio, slightly more bitter and spicier and Moraiolo with notes of artichoke and aromatic herbs, each one more or less suitable to accompany specific dishes.
Then there are the chestnuts that have always been part of Tuscany’s culinary tradition – boiled (called ballotte) or cooked on the fire (caldarroste or in some dialects bruciate), without mentioning the thousand different ways of using the flour – and mushrooms and truffles among the most prestigious products of autumn, especially in some areas such as Mugello, San Miniato and Chianti. Even raising livestock is different in each territory. Therefore, you can find different bovine breeds, each one with its own characteristics in flavour and texture such as the Chianina; it is raised between Arezzo and Siena and has been around for more than two thousand years. Then there is the Calvanina of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Maremmana with its long ivory-coloured horns and black tip, and the one raised in Pisa. And much more if we move from land to water with its excellent fish from the Tuscan sea, including the so-called ‘forgotten fish’ that is actually extremely tasty such as anchovies, moscardini (musky octopus), mullet and scabbardfish.
Excellent products that you can also try in the best Italian restaurants of Dubai, but not only.
The same variety is also found in the dishes. From the cacciucco, a typical fish soup of the Livorno coast to the castagnaccio, chestnut flour focaccia with pine nuts and dried grapes, from the schiacciata (or stiacciata as the Tuscans say) with grapes to testaroli, small focaccias from the Lunigiana and Garfagnana areas, or the potato tortelli from Mugello, which are filled with a meat topping in Lucca.
Vetrina Toscana is about all of this: the best ingredients and traditional dishes, but also where you can buy them and where you can eat them, choosing from more than 1000 restaurants, 300 food shops and 150 producers, all geolocalised; from the coast to the cities of art, in the mountains and hills, as well as recommendations and tips, tours and experiences for an unforgettable food holiday in order to discover the typical and authentic flavours of the region, its quality and sustainability.
Vetrina Toscana is in fact a network of individuals and companies that share the same principles and goals: to promote the gastronomic identity of Tuscany and its products, focusing on local areas and on the quality of its food and agricultural products, in line with responsible and sustainable tourism. To preserve traditions but open to innovation, they are committed to the use of seasonal and organic products from short food supply chains in order to support the circular economy, reduce food waste and move towards a plastic-free environment. A modern approach with old-fashioned customs for one of the largest agri-food networks in Italy, not just made up of restaurants and local producers but also farmhouse owners, beverage tasting organisers, oil mills, bathing establishments, travel agencies and hotels.