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Top 10 tuscan food to taste in Valdichiana Senese

10 typical products you have to taste during your trip in Valdichiana Senese, Tuscany.

“AGLIONE” [GIANT GARLIC]: Special varieties of garlic bulbs, which can weigh up to 500g. Its sweet taste and higher digestibility make it a perfect substitute for garlic. Do not expect to find it in all supermarkets; “aglione” is a rather uncommon vegetable, and is cultivated only in its area of origin: the Val di Chiana.

“BICO”: The “Bico” is a kind of flat bread typical of Piazze, hamlet of Cetona, made with flour, water, yeast, olive oil, a pinch of salt and cooked in a wood oven. The goodness of the “Bico” is due to the possibility of being stuffed as you like.

The most typical dish of the “Chiari”, the lakes of Montepulciano and Chiusi, closely related to the old traditions of the local fishermen. “Brustico” is a nutritious dish, made toasting fish filets on the lakeside reeds. When cooked, just peel the fish on the scorched side and season it with oil, salts and herbs.

PECORINO CHEESE: Just one name, but a thousand of flavours: fresh, freshest, cured, aged in ash, straw, walnut leaves or in the pits. Taste it combined with local cold cuts, or at the end of your meal, topped with honey! The Tuscan pecorino cheese has been rooted for centuries in a specific city: Pienza.

VAL DI CHIANA MEAT: The Valdichiana is the home of the Chianina beef, the biggest cattle in the world, from which we get the well-known Florentine steak. But the Chianina meat is tasty and juicy in each version: tartare, hamburger, roast beef: try it, and you will see!

CINTA SENESE PORK: It is the pig native of this area, raised in semi-wildness, from which we get highly valuable meats. It is impossible not to recognize this cute little black pig, with its characteristic pink “belt”.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: The care in the manufacturing process, combined with the environmental quality and the complicity of the territory, gives an oil with exceptional organoleptic features, including a low acidity and a fruity aftertaste. Try it on a slice of toasted bread!

PICI: Handmade pasta typical of the Siena countryside, very similar to spaghetti, but more uneven and rough. The limit in the choice of the toppings for this type of pasta is just that given from fantasy (try that with cheese and pepper, or with crumbs). Among the various toppings, there are two, which particularly enhance the whole territorial typicality of Pici: the giant garlic sauce, and the Chianina meat sauce. Famous across Val di Chiana are the pici produced in Celle sul Rigo, awarded in 2013 by the Italian Touring Club.

VIN SANTO: A famous sweet dessert wine; a close companion of cantucci [typical biscuits with almonds], and a symbol of the Tuscan welcome. Taste it it its versions DOC, Vin Santo di Montepulciano and Vin Santo Riserva di Montepulciano, possibly during a visit to Montefollonico, known as “The Village of Vin Santo”, located at a short distance from Torrita di Siena.

VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO: It is a Landmark of Montepulciano, and the first Italian wine to display the neck-strip of the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.) in 1980. The procedural guideline states that Nobile di Montepulciano ha sto be made up of at least 70% Sangiovese, here named “Prugnolo Gentile”, and put on the market only after two years of aging.