Delectable Tuscan Delights

Kara Mallia spent time as a chef in Italy gaining an enviable reputation for her exquisite dishes; in fact, as a chef in Armani's private Tuscan estate.

Kara is a special friend of Segmento's Cuisine and Food section. Here is her guide to must-try dishes of the Tuscan region.

Panzerotti Versiliesi (photo above), little fried pizza dough balls served with stracchino cheese and prosciutto crudo as an antipasto in the Versilia region of Tuscany. A great accompaniment to sparkling wine. Panzerotto/panzerotta is a cute nickname to call a loved one or a child.

Schiacciata all'olio, Florentine flat bread (schiacciata = squashed). Focaccia and schiacciata are Tuscan flatbreads that may seem similar to the untrained eye, but they are slightly different in texture. Tuscan focaccia is spongy and tall, while schiacciata is thinner and chewy. Doused in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt, Tuscan schiacciata makes the perfect savoury snack.

Schiacciata all'olio

Ravioli di pere, Florentine ravioli filled with pear and mixed cheeses (ricotta, parmigiano, and pecorino), topped with burnt butter and fried sage leaves. Although not a traditional or ancient Florentine dish, this is one of my favorite autumn pasta dishes when pears are in season. Delicate and aromatic, they are also lovely topped with some roasted walnuts. This is my favorite dish on the autumn menu at Trattoria 4 Leoni in Firenze.

Ravioli di pere

Tordelli Versiliesi, half-moon shaped pasta filled with a generous amount of mixed meat, spices, and chard. Traditional to the Versilia region, served with a rich ragù sauce and parmigiano. The secret ingredients are grated nutmeg, black pepper, and a local wild thyme called pepolino. A classic pasta dish found on the menu during important festivities.

Tordelli Versiliesi

Fegatini Toscani, a rich chicken liver Tuscan pàté. Typically served as antipasto alongside other Tuscan delicacies such as mixed salumi and bruschetta. This much-loved classic pàté is traditionally served in a terracotta pot at room temperature and can be found in many restaurants and Tuscan homes.

Fegatini Toscani

Cantucci e Vin Santo,
the quintessential way to end any classic Tuscan meal. An ancient Tuscan almond biscotto that is served at the end of a meal, designed to be dipped in a glass of Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. A great way to finish a heavy Tuscan meal, as you can conclude on a sweet note without overindulging.

Cantucci e Vin Santo