Tuscany is full of unique typical local products that, thanks to their excellence, have obtained important recognition from the European Union. In particular, there are PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) and other PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products. Both of these labels make it possible for consumers to learn about the exact origins and characteristics of the goods they intend to purchase. Not only are they a guarantee for the end customer, but they also allow producers to safeguard their products from imitations.
The Tuscany Region is one of the most highly regarded regions in Italy because of the agri-foods it has to offer and it boasts 16 PDO and 15 PGI products.
As far as chestnuts and chestnut flour is concerned, you will be spoilt for choice. In fact, there is a PGI chestnut that comes from Monte Amiata, which is sweet and delicate, perfect for boiling or roasting or for being turned into jam, ice-cream, polenta or Castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake).
Upper Tuscany is also the home of another 2 PDO products: we find “neccio” flour in Garfagnana and chestnut flour in Lunigiana. Then there is the Mugello PGI chestnut grown in Mugello, as well as PDO chestnut from Caprese Michelangelo, in the enchanting Valtiberina.
Among the Tuscan spices, there is PDO saffron from San Gimignano, which is grown using traditional methods and producing approximately 150,000 flowers.
We will remain inside the Terre di Siena (Lands of Siena), an area that can win over even the most demanding palates. This is where the delicious Ricciarelli PGI (almond biscuits) and Panforte PGI (a chewy fruit and nut cake) are eaten especially at Christmas.
When pronouncing the word Tuscany, it’s hard not to think of Cantucci PGI (almond biscuits), a delicacy popular throughout the region, often accompanied by a glass of Vinsanto (dessert wine).
Another product commonly found throughout Tuscany is Pecorino Toscano PDO (Tuscan sheep’s milk cheese), while Pecorino Romano PDO is produced in the area of Grosseto and Pecorino delle Balze Volterrane in Volterra and the surrounding area, such as Pomarance, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Castelnuovo Val di Cecina and Monteverdi.
Also belonging to the category of cured meats, are Finocchiona PGI, Mortadella di Bologna PGI (made in several Italian regions), Prosciutto Toscano PDO, Lardo di Colonnata PGI and salamini italiani alla cacciatore PDO.
Another one of the high-ranking Tuscan treasures is olive oil: Tuscan PGI extra virgin oilve oil, Chianti Classico PDO extra virgin olive oil, Terre di Siena PDO extra Virgin olive oil, Lucca PDO extra virgin olive oil and Seggiano PDO extra virgin olive oil are all made here.
PGI spelt is found in Garfagnana and is an ally of healthy eating and authentic taste. Then there is the Fagiolo di Sorana PGI haricot bean, grown in the heart of the Valdineivole, which was the favourite of Italian journalist and historian Indro Montanelli.
The Fungo di Borgotaro PGI mushroom is produced in Pontremoli and, in general , in the area of Massa Carrara; the precious honey of Lunigiana PDO is also from the same area.
Cinta Senese PDO (breed of pig from Siena), Vitellone Bianco dell’Appenino Centrale PGI (beef from a breed of young bullock in the Central Apennines) and Agnello del Centro Italia IGP (lamb from Central Italy) are meats you really must taste in Tuscany; lastly, Tuscan Bread PDO must always be present on the table. It has a special feature: it contains no salt.