One thing that we love about Tuscan Food is its celebration of the seasons. There are always seasonal treats to be had no matter what the time of of year, but Autumn holds a special place in our hearts, because Autumn in Tuscany brings with it harvest seasons and local food festivals fit for royalty! For a foodie, Autumn is arguably the best time to visit Tuscany. As with so much in Italy, it’s hard to choose, but here are the must-try foods in Tuscany to taste during your visit in Autumn.
In September, even the most urban city-dweller in Florence can tell when the grape harvests are underway, because local bakeries are, for a few blessed weeks, piled high with Schiacciata all’Uva! The little Canaiolo grapes are very sweet and have large seeds, making them less suitable for wine, and perfect for this sweet, doughy treat (the seeds add a pleasant characteristic crunch!). There are typically two layers of schiacciata with grapes in the middle and on top, sprinkled over with sugar. Sometimes the dough includes a pinch of anise, giving it a unique and flavorful kick. Schiacciata all’Uva is a rare seasonal treat that Tuscans look forward to all year long, so if you’re passing through from mid-September to early October, don’t miss your chance to taste it!
Tuscany is the undisputed home of true Porcini mushrooms, and in the fall you can find crates of them in the local markets alongside sprigs of “Nipitella” (calamint). Porcini grow best when there’s a bit of rain followed by warm sunny days, which is why Autumn in Tuscany provides the perfect conditions for them! In restaurants look for seasonal pasta dishes made with fresh Porcini, or head to the market with us and buy some from the local farmers.
In most parts of the world Truffles are a gourmet treat whose price puts them out of reach for most. In Tuscany they are without a doubt a specialty, but are much more attainable, especially in the fall. October and November are prime Truffle season, culminating with the White Truffle Festival in San Miniato during the last three weekends of November. At restaurants look for pasta dishes made with fresh truffle, and if you visit the markets be sure to take home some truffle products, like truffle honey - my favorite thing to pair with pecorino!
Those who have visited Florence may be familiar with the “Porcellino,” the wild boar sculpture whose nose you may have rubbed to ensure your return to Florence. Wild boars are common in Tuscany, and hunting season runs from October to January. The flavorful meat is perfect for hearty stews and pasta dishes. One of my favorite Winter meals is Pappardelle al Cinghiale with a glass of Chianti or Morellino!
As soon as Autumn stats to settle over Florence you’ll start to notice stands all around the center with “caldarroste,” freshly-roasted chestnuts. The aroma is certainly enticing and on a chilly winter day a few euros are well-spent on a bag of warm chestnuts that warm your hands while you snack! Chestnuts are not just for roasting, and during the Autumn and Winter months in Tuscany you’ll find chestnuts in everything from bread, pasta, and soup to desserts.
Castagnaccio is a favorite Autumn dessert in Tuscany. Like so much of Tuscan cuisine, it’s as simple as it is flavorful. Chestnut Flour, raisins, pine nuts, and a bit of olive oil, salt and rosemary are mixed with water and baked to make a thin, dense cake. It is naturally gluten-free and can be eaten warm or cold. Pair it with a sweet wine for the perfect end to an Autumn Tuscan feast!
New Olive Oil
November in Tuscany brings with it the much-anticipated Olive Harvest, and oil mills flow with “green gold.” Locals lucky enough to have small family olive groves enjoy seeing their status in their social circles improve significantly as everyone snatches up bottles of bright green new oil.
Olive oil tasting is as respected and, in November, as common as wine tasting. Olive Oil tastings are included in our Market Tour and Food Lover's Tour, and during the Autumn Olive Harvest you’ll have the chance to taste new oil!
During the Autumn season we make sure to highlight these seasonal treats and more on our Cultural Food Market Tour in Florence as well as our Food Lover's Tour of Florence. While there is plenty to taste all year round, if you’re visiting Tuscany in the fall, a food and wine tour is an absolute must!
Find out more about our Food Tours in Florence and book your experience now!
Article written by Krista Ricchi of the blog in Florence: Alla Fiorentina.. You can follow Krista @allafiorentina across social media.