The secret to Tuscan cooking is the knowledge of how to use fresh seasonal ingredients prepared to result in tasty, healthy meals, the flavour of each ingredient highlighted by the addition of a few select ingredients.
In winter in Italy, there are a lot more recipes that require slow-cooking over a low flame or perhaps roasting in a wood-fired oven, to result in melt-in-the-mouth meats and intensely flavoured sauces. But as the temperature warms, the field bloom with flowers, the recipes change too.
Not only do the fresh seasonal ingredients alter, but also the way that food is prepared. Dishes consist of a much simpler preparation. No more slow cooking and hours spent tenderly stirring a simmering stew, basting a roast, and the like.
Now it is all about chopping, mixing and serving, with minimal cooking taking place along the way. And there is nothing more satisfying than a great recipe that has taken hardly any time to prepare!
This recipe by Tessa Kiros from her fabulous title, ‘Twelve: a Tuscan Cookbook’ includes the following simple and delicious Tuscan dessert recipe that takes just minutes to prepare and results in a fantastic conclusion to any meal.
Fragole con aceto balsamico
Strawberries with balsamic vinegar
Recipe by Tessa Kiros
250 ml (1 cup) red wine
250 ml (1 cup) water
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) ripe strawberries
150 g (5.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
‘You may use a strawberry or raspberry vinegar instead of the balsamic. This is a simple, light dessert often eaten with a slice of white bread in Tuscany. Try this served with vanilla biscuits or vanilla ice cream.’
put the wine and water into a bowl. Gently rinse the strawberries and drain them well. Carefully remove their green tops. If they are small, leave them whole, otherwise divide them into halves or quarters. Put them into a non-corrosive (such as stainless steel) bowl, and sprinkle with sugar and the balsamic vinegar. Mix through and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To experience Tuscany’s stunning countryside first-hand and footed, take a hike with us on this trekking in Tuscany tour, A Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
You can also see the stunning Tuscan countryside by bike on our Original Tuscany Bike Tour ? a small-group guided bike tour through Tuscany including lunch and wine tasting.
If you’d rather skip the exertion and focus more on the excursion, we have the Best of Tuscany small-group tour, visiting three Tuscan hilltop towns (Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni) as well as having wine tasting and lunch at a Tuscan Villa Estate.
In the afternoons, we have the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa Wine Tour ? taste award-winning wines at an historic Tuscany Villa on this small-group Tuscany wine tour.
For evenings, the Original Evening Walk includes a one-hour city walk in Florence to the charming Oltrarno area, followed by a wine-tasting in Florence.
Tessa Kiros, a good friend of Artviva, is an occasional special guest at the Artviva Festival giving visitors to Tuscany a chance to meet local authors, artists and aristocrats, including wine tasting and insights into Italian culture.
You can also learn about the traditional Italian ingredients and learn to make delicious, typical dishes before indulging in a delicious meal made by you by signing up for our hands-on cooking class in Florence.