The cuisine of Tuscany is based on four fundamental ingredients – bread, extra-virgin olive oil, beef and wild game such as boar, deer, and rabbit, and wine. Like its Umbrian neighbors, Tuscan bread is salt-less, or sciappo. A local might tell you this is because the rest of the food is so flavorful that there is no need for salt in the bread. And they wouldn't be exaggerating. Besides the meat, legumes like beans, peas, and chickpeas, vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, and artichokes are the foundation of the region's dishes.
As in many areas of Italy, la cucina toscana is peasant fare, most dishes purely seasonal and enjoyed when the ingredients are in season, making them anticipated and savored with appreciation. And because so much of what appears on a Tuscan table is produced by food artisans in traditional ways, the quality of the food surpasses its industrial counterpart. Crostini topped with chicken livers, olive paste, or other vegetables are popluar antipasti as is the more familiar bruschetta brushed with golden oil, fresh garlic and sun-ripened tomatoes. For a first course, or primo, hearty soups reign over pasta, such as ribollita and pappa al pomodoro; both of these are thickened with crusty, day-old bread. Nothing goes to waste!
The second course usually features beef, or wild game, but fish, a light egg frittata, a platter of local cheeses or an array of roasted vegetables are there to satisfy every taste and every appetite. End your meal with Vin Santo (Holy Wine), a sweet dessert wine into which you dip your cantucci or biscotti – an experience that makes dining seem almost sacred.