The area of Pistoia is enticing to the eyes and the palate for those who love to discover flavours, colours and local products due to the lowlands and deep valleys that produce high quality fruit and vegetables, the hills covered by vines and olive groves produce top wines and oils, and the mountains offering delicious fruit like mushrooms, chestnuts and wild fruits. There’s also a wide range of chocolate-based desserts, delicacies to be tasted with some Vinsanto. Besides traditional trattorias, you will find innovative restaurants with creative dishes that don’t ignore the area’s best products.

Here are the 10 delicacies to try in this unique corner of Tuscany!

  1. The Brigidino – The Lamporecchio Brigidino is a small, golden, friable biscuit waffle, made with egg, flour, sugar and aniseed. It’s said to have been invented in second half of the 16th century by the nuns of Santa Brigida. The recipe has been handed down through generations by skilled artisans. Light and crunchy you can find them at the stalls in popular Tuscan festivals and fairs.
  2. Sorana IGP Bean – Along the banks of the Pescia Maggiore river, in the area that goes from Sorana to Castelvecchio, there exists a micro-zone the lends to the cultivation of the Sorana IGP bean, characterised by its thin skin and delicate taste.
  3. Extra-virgin olive oil – The Toscano IGP Montalbano extra-virgin olive oil has a fruity and spicy flavour. Perfect as a condiment to local dishes like soups, or to flavour Tuscan bread to make the perfect bruschetta.
  4. Wine and Vinsanto – On the hills of Montalbano, stretches of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano vines are transformed into Chianti Montalbano DOCG and Bianco della Valdinievole DOC. The Vinsanto is produced in kegs for at least three years.
  5. Montecatini Wafer – Invented in the 1920s, the Montecatini wafer can’t be compared to anything else. Try it with ice cream, tea or with a sweet wine.
  6. Tuscan bread and hams – In the mountains surrounding Pistoia, in the small village of Melo, near Cutigliano, a strange grain once grew, the Marzolo, which is a variety resistant to winter’s hardships. The seeds of the grain were saved and today, along with their flour, can be made into a delicious whole-wheat bread. 
  7. Chocolate – In Pistoia, “Chocolate Valley,” or the area of Tuscany that stretches from the north of the region to Prato and Pisa, is occupied by many workshops and internationally famous chocolate masters. Refined palates will enjoy the large array of both traditionally and innovatively flavoured creams, bars and chocolates to choose from.
  8. Pistoia confetto – This lumpy sweet from Pistoia is made with traditional methods. The inside consisting of sugared almond is rolled for more than eight hours with water and sugar in a large rotating copper kettle, called a “bassina”, The candy is then left to cool naturally on the canvas. The sugar-coated core, originally exclusively made up of aniseed, can today be made from various ingredients, like almonds, hazelnuts, candied orange, coriander and chocolate.
  9. Panforte glacé – It was made in 1950 and was invented by the Corsini family. It’s a niche product of haute-patisserie. Traditionally in Pistoia it’s gifted with the confetto sweets and eaten with Vinsanto.
  10. Mountain flavours – The mountains around Pistoia are synonymous with nature and authenticity and is host to a plethora of delicacies. The spots of colour that stand out among green expanses are the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries that are delicious freshly-picked or transformed into jams, scented syrups, juices and flavoured grappas. The abundance of chestnut trees has lent to the production of honey. Boasting an amber colour and intense flavour, it can accompany a cheese that can only be found here: raw milk pecorino. The king of mountain cuisine is the porcini mushroom. It can be simply cooked on the grill or used here “al funghetto” (in oil with salt, pepper, parsley, nepitella, a little garlic and tomato to taste), definitely one of the autumn pleasures not to be missed. In the same place where the Marzolo grain is produced, in Melo di Cutigliano, grows a special kind of potato, the white Melo potato, an organic example of typical local produce.