We would say that the food reflects the general mentality of the Tuscan people; straight forward, simple and full of passion.
Whilst the Tuscan kitchen is an authentic expression of a simple peasant culture with local produce playing the key role in ingredients, the outcome is delicious. Restaurants with international influences are rare in Tuscany, and you are therefore more likely to experience true authentic recipes.
It is actually hard to eat badly in Tuscany, unless you choose for example a restaurant right next to the leaning tower of Pisa (of the type that tends to be a tourist trap). We strongly recommend that you stay in a place that has a restaurant. During our years of travel in Italy, we have sampled many a meal and bottle of wine in the accommodation that we promote, so we would like to make a few suggestions of places where you can stay comfortably and eat well:
Albergo Quattro Gigli: It's hard to hide our excitement about this hotel as it is in every sense 'truly Tuscan'. Should we choose one place that represents all the best that Tuscany has to offer, then it would be Albergo Quattro Gigli.
Here you can enjoy a well furnished and cosy hotel located in a neglected medieval town in the middle of Tuscany, which serves wonderful food in attractive premises. In addition there is an excellent wine cellar and a beautiful view from the intimate garden. Here you can participate in wine tasting.
Hotel Sovestro: This charming hotel overlooks the vineyards some twenty minute walk from San Gimignano. It started many years ago as a restaurant and a pizzeria, then they added the rooms, and continue to ensure constant improvement with emphasis on good food. Three generations of the Failli family work almost around the clock, and even Alfredo who is in his 80's serves every day in the restaurant! Almost every year sees improvements in the quality of the hotel.
The restaurant provides well-made Tuscan food that is traditional but with refinements here and there. There are regulars that return time and time again just to eat the most humble main course on the map: chicken breast in vinsanto with grapes - it's cheap, but fantastically delicious! If you have a sweet tooth, you should certainly try the cake stuffed with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla cream. And much more!
Agriturismo il Castagnolino: If you love small intimate places, good food and great hosts, you will soon fall head over heels with Agriturismo il Castagnolino. The old farmhouse is now the home of Marta and her husband Ivano, not forgetting their dog Sara and their cat Eve. The house is a little too big for them, so they also have added six tasteful rooms for guests.
Around the house, they have a small production of saffron, olives and aromatic herbs. All this used extensively in the lovely food that they serve each evening serving for a small handful of guests either in the beautiful communal dining room or on the terrace. It's impressive how they can vary the dishes from evening to evening, and how well they can please all tastes without exception.
Agriturismo Montalbino: Tuscany is known for its beautiful landscape, but the view from Agriturismo Montalbino can still impress. The picturesque cluster of houses now house a number of apartments that are rented on a weekly basis, but there is also still a farm where Anna and Marco make wine and olive oil.
In the woods near the farm, they breed the Cinta Senese pig that is typical of Tuscany. The way they are bred puts our idea of "free range" to shame since they have several hectares of forest to run around in and have fun on. The meat is extremely tasty, and if you are lucky enough to taste the two year old ham in the farm's small restaurant La Lombricaia, you will have an experience of a lifetime. It almost melts on the tongue. Incidentally, it is impressive how many dishes are on the menu at the small restaurant, not to mention how good they taste, and how beautiful the view is from the terrace.
Tenuta di Pieve a Celle: It still surprises us that it is not expensive to eat and stay here! So much natural beauty tinged with creative hard work from the owners who are as nice as they are resourceful, is obvious from the moment you arrive.
It is a quality bed & breakfast reminiscent of Relais & Châteaux, where the family itself are responsible for it all. Fiorenza's cuisine is distinctly Tuscan and based on the excellent local produce, but it is felt that she often finds inspiration in restaurants of a higher price range. Both the quality of the food and its presentation is therefore well above what one would expect for the price. One last little note that says much about the setting for guests: Fiorenza carefully notes what she serves for her guests each evening so not to repeat the same thing if, when we should say, they visit again. Unless of course they request a repeat meal.
Villa di Capovento: You will again receive a warm welcome from the owners Daniela and Daniele when you arrive at this villa in the woods. It is only actually three kilometres to Castellina in Chianti and it is deceptively spacious with six bedrooms and a large dining rooms. It is strikingly reminiscent of Tenuta di Pieve a Celle in almost all areas.
Again, the food is Tuscan and traditional but with some refinements. Their olive oil is so excellent, and the garden is full of the finest herbs. Daniela also offers cooking classes for those that are interested.
If you are still not sure where to choose for the best food and wine experiences in Tuscany, then feel free to ask for advice from our Tuscany travel experts. Or you can search through our catalogue of hand-picked holiday accommodation and find something that captures your attention.