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Is Tuscan Cuisine Truly Italian Food?

Is Tuscan Cuisine Truly Italian Food?, Chef Damiano - Tuscan Chef

Tuscan cuisine and Italian food are different in so many ways. Even though they are usually spoken about as one and the same there are definite differences.

Italy is unique in the way that its local cuisines are determined by the readily available ingredients found within those particular regions.

Tuscan cuisine is based on what has been referred to as “The Peasant Diet”. This diet consists primarily of local vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, olives, onions, and garlic with small amounts of meat added to dishes for flavor. One of the main differences between Tuscan and Italian cooking is the use of olive oil instead of butter, which is a staple in Italian cooking.

For example, in Italy, they use balsamic vinegar as a condiment whereas, in Tuscany, they use it for salad dressings. The Italians typically cook with tomatoes whereas the Tuscans prefer using olive oil or butter.

The food may seem quite simple, but it is packed with amazing regional flavors. Meals are always served with regional bread, a tradition that dates back all the way to the 16th century.

Another ancient tradition the baking of unsalted bread has carried on today.  The reason for unsalted bread can be traced back to a tax that was placed on salt, leaving people to bake without it. However, the real job of this practically flavorless bread is to soak up all the juices and sauce left on your plate.

Another way that the people of Tuscany brought flavors to the bread so to speak, was to use ingredients like liver pate, prosciutto, sausage, other cured meats, and of course their famous olive oil.

All these culinary traditions have been passed down through generations and are still alive and well today. One of the dishes that Tuscany is known for is called Panzanella. As we all were told by our grandparents and parents alike, it is a sin to throw stale bread away. So with that being said, Tuscan people would take their leftover, hard bread and make a summer bread salad with seasonal vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion. Then they would be seasoned heartily with olive oil and vinegar.

Is Tuscan Cuisine Truly Italian Food?, Chef Damiano - Tuscan Chef

At the end with all being said, Tuscan cuisine and Italian food are very similar. They both use the same foundational ingredients of pasta, tomato sauce, olives, fresh vegetables, cheese, and cured meats. Tuscan cooking tends to be less spicy than traditional Italian dishes, while also being more hearty and filling. Italian cooking can vary from this to very light fish-based type meals

The bottom line is that they both are amazing and DELICIOUS!