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Best tastes of Southern Tuscany
Submitted by: maremmatuscany
The Maremma is known for its cultura contadina or peasant's culture. Every town has its own tastes and take on certain dishes. But no matter where you go, Maremman food is hearty, seasonal and plentiful.
Here are my best:
Literally 'cooked water', this beautiful vegetable soup harks back to the days when the peasants would boil a pail of water in the fields and add whatever vegetables they had on hand. As the province became more prosperous chefs would add a gorgeously poached egg and a slice of bread for a more hearty meal.
Acquacotta is a staple throughout the Maremma. In the Fiora Valley they use carrots and broad beans instead of the traditional silver beet, while in Monte Amiata, freshly gathered porcini mushrooms are added for an earthy touch.
Wild boar is so popular in the Maremma, but tourists can sometimes get stiffed. The hunting season in is winter, so you can only be sure you're getting fresh meat, as disgusting as that sounds, during that time of the year.
Any other time and it's probably been frozen. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just pays to ask before you order. Wild boar tastes like strongly flavoured pork. The meat is darker and leaner and goes great in stews and pasta sauces.
What can I say? Maremmani love their savoury dishes.
Tortelli are pasta pillows - a bit like big ravioli - traditionally stuffed with spinach and ricotta and served with a luscious minced meat sauce. What makes its such a standout dish is an unexpected addition - cinnamon. It's just a hint, but it really brings depth to the dish and emphasizes the flavour of the meat.
On the topic of cinnamon, you can find sweet versions of these tortelli. They're commonly served at sagre (food festivals) and are unmissable, served with melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.