For my last post on Tuscany, I wanted to talk a little about one of the best parts of the trip- the food and wine. Before traveling to Italy, I always pictured the food as being classic pizzas, pastas, and warm Italian garlic bread. While for some regions of the country these foods are definitely specialties, in Tuscany the food was much more diverse (and better!) than a typical Olive Garden meal.
I've always liked wine, but in a casual, uninformed, and very picky type of way. Although I was really looking forward to the vineyard tours in Tuscany, I really wasn't sure what to expect. As you can probably guess, the wines were absolutely delicious. The history and grapes available in each specific region are the deciding factors of what varieties of wines will be made, ensuring each variety is made according to the highest standards.
In Montepulciano, the local wine was called the Vino Noble. I wish I possessed a sommelier's vocabulary and knowledge so as to appropriately describe the taste to you, but I'll leave that to the experts.
In Chianti, the local wine was- big surprise here- Chianti Classico. Another popular wine from the region was the Super Tuscan. From what I understand, the Super Tuscan isn't a specific variety, but actually a label that allows wine makers to craft wines with a little more freedom than if they were to produce a particular variety.
And oh, the Food
The biggest surprise to me was that Tuscany has incredible meats and cheeses whereas pasta is served just as an appetizer- if you can even eat all that food! The lamb was my favorite, but we also had beef, chicken, and quail.
During our tour of Castello di Verrazzano, we also learned a few light food and wine pairings that were delicious! Toasted italian break with olive oil and fresh garlic definitely gave the Super Tuscan wine a stronger flavor, and a slice of pear served with goat's cheese was wonderful with the Chianti Classico. If you're in the mood to do as Italian's do, finish off the appetizers (or meal) with crunchy biscotti dipped in a sweet dessert wine.
Who can forget the gelato? Straciatella, similar to chocolate chip, will forever be my favorite. It's tough to choose from the ever-growing lists though: pistachio, nutella, lemon, the list goes on and on! What's your favorite?