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culinary specialities

Country cooking and simple dishes characterise the food of the area: flour made from wheat or corn, bread, oil, beans, milk and ... good wine are amongst the main ingredients.The local dish par excellence is "Pici": pasta made from flour and water, which is rolled out with the palms of the hands into long thin strands. This rolling is called "appiciare", from which the pasta derives its name. The same home-made pasta is used for macaroni or the thin noodles called "tagliatini".

Another local dish is "Panzanella" made out of stale bread soaked in water, to which is added salad vegetables and herbs, such as onions, basil and catnip, and is dressed with plenty of oil. There is also "Ribollita", toasted slices of bread soaked in bean soup, and "Rivoltolo", a wheat flour dough cooked in oil. Until a little while ago, one could also find a type of flat loaf made of cornflour and cooked between two cabbage leaves.
Also presented between two leaves, but of fern, is "Raveggiolo", a type of soft cheese which is traditional in this area. "Bruschetta" is a local version of garlic bread, made from slices of bread toasted over a wood fire, then rubbed with virgin olive oil and garlic.

Spit-roast chicken, "nana" (the local dialect word for anatra, or duck) "ocio" (oca, or goose), "porchetta" (roast pork cooked with salt, garlic and rosemary), roast capon, guinea fowl and rabbit, are all types of meat which have "emigrated" from the countryside into the restaurants of city.

To these dishes can be added hors d'oeuvre (antipasti) such as "crostini", savoury toasts with milt or chickenlivers, main dishes of game and wild mushrooms, "Pansanto" (slices of bread garnished with cauliflower and oil and vinegar), the renowned "bistecca fiorentina", all of which is served with "ciaccia" (a type of pizza bread brushed with oil) or typical Tuscan bread, made without salt so as not to spoil the other flavours.

Another important part of local cuisine are the desserts and cakes, including "cantucci", hard biscuits with pieces of almond, which are dipped into the locally-made Vinsanto, a dessert wine: "lattaiolo", a local version of crème caramel; "castagnaccio" and "ciaccia dei morti", cakes made for the Day of the Dead holidays in November; and "grogetti", special cakes made for Carnival.

(This extract is taken from the"Montepulciano la perla del cinquecento")

Some dishes that we recommend to taste:

Crostini with spleen or black crostini: appetizer prepared with bovine spleen, onion, white wine, anchovies, capers, salt and pepper, smeared on slices of home toasted bread.

Bruschetta: slices of tuscan bread with garlic and pepper, seasoned with few salt and oil virgin of olive.

Panzanella: it's a typical tuscan dish, delicious and easy to prepare. Soak some bread in water, crumble it and season with a little winegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, enrich then with tomatoes, onion and basil.

Ribollita: prepare a base of herbs with bacon, potatoes and bolide "cannellini" beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven.Before serving, cook again for a while in the oven and add a little more olive oil. Pour over slices of toasted tuscan bread; serve hot. Can be flavoured with fresh onions.

Pici: pasta prepared simply with water, flour and few salt, mixed rather hard and pulled by hand up to form rough twines.

Pappardelle with hare: the hare, chopped, after a long "marinatura" with the odors in Chianti wine is cooked in salmì, using like base the "coratella" minced thiny. We create so a dense juice, enriched by the pulp of the hare, with which the pappardelle are seasoned, rather wide and well pulled.

Fagioli all'uccelletto: beans cooked with sage, garlic, oil and tomato. Typical contour, enriched often with sausages so that it can be considered unique dish.

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