One of the best ways to embrace la dolce vita is indulging in Tuscan food. From truffles and hearty soups to gelato and Tuscan wine, there’s an abundance of Tuscan delicacies to savor on our Ultimate Italy tour. Get acquainted with the essential guide to Italy for foodies and dive into our seven favorite Tuscan culinary experiences.
Meet Marchese Mazzei for a private lunch and wine tasting
Should you travel on a Founder’s Collection of our Ultimate Italy tour, you’re treated to an exclusive lunch and wine tasting with Marchese Mazzei at his centuries-old Tuscan estate, Fonterutoli Winery. Revered for its Chianti Classico, the winery’s Mazzei family has been evolving its winemaking through tradition and innovations to support a low environmental impact since 1435. Begin with a tour of the estate highlighting the history of the Chianti Classico appellation and a visit to the underground Author’s Cellar. You’ll then sit down to sip their complex wine and enjoy a light lunch while you gaze out upon the villa and homes dating back to the 1500s.
Visit Guardastelle winery for a wine tasting and lunch
Delve into Tuscan wine on a private tour of the 15th century Guardastelle estate. Your personal oenophile will guide you through the ancient cellars and share their insights on their grape varieties and family-owned estate. Tenuta Guardastelle is one of the smallest wineries in San Gimignano and is the ideal place to sample Tuscan wine. Paired with a lunch of Tuscan specialties, your lunch among rolling green hills and vineyards makes for an idyllic dining experience.
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Taste award-winning ice cream in San Gimignano
What better way to embrace Tuscan delicacies than by tasting gelato with World Champion Gelato maestro, Sergio Dondoli? Tucked within winding alleyways is the world-renowned artisan ice cream parlor, Gelateria Dondoli. Within this small shop filled with tempting tastes you’ll hear master Dondoli’s story of developing his craft since 1984. All his ice creams feature highly selected, top-quality ingredients of local regions. For example, the saffron and hazelnut have protected designations.
Dondoli also won the prestigious MAM (Master of Art and Craft) award in 2016, the Italian equivalent of the “Living National Treasure” Japanese Prize and the French “Maître d’Art” Award. Only 75 Artistic Masters were awarded this honor in Italy and Sergio is the only Gelato Master to have received this important award. Some of his notable flavors include Crema di Santa Fina® (cream with saffron and pine nuts), Champelmo® (pink grapefruit and sparkling wine), Dolceamaro® (cream with aromatic herbs) and Vernaccia Sorbet.
Forage for aromatic truffles guided by an expert truffle dog
Known as the “golden mushroom,” the truffle captures the elegance and sumptuous flavors of Tuscan food. Truffles in Tuscany grow around the roots of oak, hazelnut and pine trees across the hilly landscape. Your tour will take you on a fascinating foraging trip through these very regions guided by an expert truffle dog. After your excursion, use a truffle (or gift it along) as soon as you can. Truffles lose both their aroma and weight as time passes. White truffles pair well with simple ingredients such as fresh egg pasta or polenta. Or, dishes with butter, eggs, potatoes or cheese.
Explore Florence on a culinary walk with a local foodie
Visit the lively Mercato Centrale to learn about Florentine specialties with a local foodie. This market opened in 2014 in a historic cast iron and glass structure dating back to 1874. The aim was to make local artisans and their produce the heart of the food scene. Sample Florence’s culinary delights in the tucked away market shops offering a selection of gourmet highlights. Try local bread and baked goods, fresh fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes, meat and charcuterie, buffalo mozzarella, cheese, chocolate, gelato, fresh pasta, wine, lampredotto and truffles.
Enjoy dinner in an elegant Florentine villa
A highlight of your Tuscan culinary journey will surely be dinner in Florence feasting on regional dishes, including the famous local specialty ‘bistecca fiorentina.’ This traditional dish is a Tuscan steak made from the region’s Chianina breed of cattle which are prized for their tenderness and flavor. This simple recipe seasons the steak with little more than olive oil, rosemary and salt. It is then grilled it to perfection to highlight the rich flavor of the meat. Savor every bite over this authentic dining experience.
Tuscan Lunch and Cooking Class with Italian Chef
What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of Tuscan food than with a hands-on cooking class? We’ll take you inside the former hunting lodge built in the 1200s by the Medici family. Begin by taking a stroll through the olive groves, vineyards and villas before sourcing fresh ingredients from the garden. Then partner with a professional Italian chef to learn how to roll your own fresh tagliatelle and pappardelle pasta.
With so many decadent and authentic culinary experiences in Tuscany alone, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fill your plate with Tuscan food and enrich your travels.
Where will your taste buds take you?