Florence, Italy: Delicious Tuscan Cheeses & Cold Cuts
Have you ever experienced déjà vu? A reincarnated woman reunites with her 16th century lover.
Tuscany is a mecca for excellent cold cuts and delicious cheeses. The variety offered is also just as impressive. A plate of freshly sliced meats and fine cheeses, along with some crusty bread and good wine can easily be considered a meal in itself.
The following is a list of meats and cheeses that I highly recommend you try when you are visiting Tuscany.
MEATS: (keep in mind that they each have a distinct flavor due to unique spices)
Prosciutto Crudo: cured / smoked ham that comes from the pig. Delicious with either figs, cheeses, or in a panino.
Prosciutto Cotto: baked ham that comes from the pig. Delicious with mushrooms on pizza or in a panino with artichoke spread.
Finocchiona: salami with fennel seed made from pig. Delicious with cheeses or crusty breads. I usually recommend a white wine with good acidity when eating finocchiona since the fat and fennel seeds will coat the taste buds. The acidity in the wine will "scrub" them clean and keep your palate fresh.
Salami Tartufati: salami with black truffle made from pig. Delicious alone or with crusty bread.
Salami di Cinghiale: salami made from Tuscan wild boar. Delicious alone or with crusty bread.
Salami Toscano: salami with black pepper made from pig. Delicious with cheese, bread, or hard fruits (apple, pear).
Soppressata: salami made from the snout, ears, and head of the pig. Delicious in a panino.
Guancia: salami made from the cheeks of the pig. Delicious with cheeses or with crusty bread.
Sbricciolona: artisan salami that crumbles (contains fennel seed). Delicious on crusty bread.
CHEESES:(the same cheese can taste very different depending on the age)
Pecorino Fresco: sheep's milk cheese that is not very aged (4-6 months). Delicious with fresh fruits or fruit mostarda (fruit sauces infused with mustard, horseradish, or peperoncino).
Pecorino Staggionato: sheep's milk cheese that has been aged for 12 months or more). Delicious with grapes (red globe), mostarda, or drizzled with truffle honey.
Stracchino: soft, mild, spreadable cheese. Delicious in a panino with prosciutto crudo or sun-dried tomatoes.
Caprino: fresh goat cheese. Delicious with grilled chicken, in salads, or with roasted vegetables (like sweet bell peppers and zucchini).
Remember, when you come to Florence, one of the best things you can do is make a picnic and take it out to the nearby countryside or to Piazzale Michelangelo. A basket full of Tuscan meats and cheeses, some crusty bread, and a nice bottle of wine are the perfect companions while you are enjoying the breathtaking views. Thank you for reading.
C. De Melo
Author & Artist