What is a typical product? It’s everything that grows in specific geographic areas, is cultivated according to work methods handed down from one generation to another and on which peculiar food traditions are based.
In particular, a product is considered “typical” when all the following features are present:
- A historical memory of all the traditions related to the product;
- The geographic localization of production areas;
- The quality of the raw materials used in production;
- The preparation techniques, the experience of the artisans, the tools used, the pacing, the means and the methods of the preparation.
Let’s find out more about the typical products of Valdichiana Senese.
The extra-virgin olive oil produced in Valdichiana Senese has two very peculiar features: it is bitter and it tingles. Those effects are actually quite positive: they are caused by polyphenols, which act as antioxidizing agents that slow down cellular aging. So, if you happen to taste our oil and find it slightly bitter and/or tingly, remember that it is not only a very high-quality oil, but a very healthy food too.
Its characteristics are highlighted when used uncooked on a variety of dishes, from vegetable and bean soups to meats, from crudités to cheeses – and don’t miss our traditional Tuscan bruschetta.
Even if you don’t like fatty hams, we bet you’ll make an exception for the cinta senese ham: its fat is rich in oleic acids, a substance that can also be found in olive oil and that keeps bad cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases at bay. Its texture is much more fluid and pleasant: you won’t even notice its presence.
Pecorino: a name, one thousand flavors: fresh, very fresh, hard, aged under ashes or straw, in walnut leaves or into pits in the terrain. And if this variety of flavors isn’t enough, try playing with contrasting tastes: we suggest tasting pecorino accompanied by honey or fruit/vegetable preserves.
The typical Tuscan landscape shows our wine-producing calling: kilometers upon kilometers of splendid vineyards cover the hills of Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia. The undisputed king of red wines in this land is the Sangiovese: a red grape of excellent quality and character that is not easy to grow and cultivate, giving different results depending on the microclimate and the terrain on which it grows.
The Chianina is the world’s largest cattle breed; it originates in Valdichiana. This giant, docile bovine has been our treasured ally for centuries, thanks to its aptitude for work and the quality of its meat. The authentic “Florentine steak” (Bistecca alla Fiorentina) comes from the meat of this animal: here, it’s still raised the traditional way, letting it live a healthy lifestyle and respecting its biological clock.
“Shall we have a bit of Vin Santo?” is the customary phrase you’ll hear at the end of any meal, is the offer to an incoming guest, an invitation to conviviality and to lift one’s spirits with the touch of something sweet. Cantucci and Vin Santo is not only a dessert, is the Tuscan way of sharing a slice of happiness.
Next, we have a kind of pasta that is hand-crafted in the Senese countryside – somewhat akin to spaghetti, but with a rawer look. This pasta is very versatile, and the only limit in the choice of the accompanying sauce is the inspiration of the “massaie” (housewives) of the Chiana. Expect to encounter, in your travels through Valdichiana senese, the pici all’aglione, pici with Chianina ragu, pici cacio e pepe (with cheese and ground pepper) and pici alle briciole (with breadcrumbs).
The Aglione is a giant variety of garlic with a peculiar tingling aroma – although it actually has a much more delicate flavor than regular garlic. It’s ivory white, almost spherical (barely flattened at its poles), and hosts typically six big and distinct bulblets. The weight of this kind of garlic can go up to 800 grams. The Aglione della Valdichiana is a plant used in the traditional Tuscan cuisine, favored because of its particular organoleptic properties, its sugary flavor and its high digestibility (insofar as it doesn’t contain allin).