Typical Food and Dishes of Arezzo
As in most of Tuscany, cooks in Arezzo make the most of their nearest ingredients, some which might be new to visitors to this area. The Gobbo all’Aretina refers to the thistle, which as a member of the artichoke and cardoon family makes it fair game for cooking. Also popular is Cavolo nero, the deep green cabbage leaf usually found in hearty vegetable soups called Minestra di pane, bread stew, or Acquacotta.
Baccelli and Pecorino
At the Sagra dei Baccelli in Spoiano in early May a much-prized vegetable is the raw broad bean usually paired with pecorino sheep’s cheese. Young broad beans are delicious raw, particularly when accompanied with a good fresh pecorino. This foodie event was started in 1975 and has had a couple of hiccups recently for obvious reasons, but should bre running again now. The beans are served fresh, seasoned with extra-virgin olive oil and paired with pecorino or finocchiona.
In Anghiari and Arezzo Bringoli, a fresh pasta like a thick home-made spaghetti is often served with olive oil and parmesan cheese or with a meatless ‘fake sausage’ ragù, something even a Vegan would love. Those who love cheese will try the soft fresh Raviggiolo, while for meat-lovers there is Prosciutto del Casentino or ham from the Casentino forest’s free range ‘grey’ pig.
PeposoPeposo alla fornacina is a dish using beef of the famous Chianina cattle, cooked for a long time with whole peppercorns. The origins of the dish are attributed to the workers who produced construction materials for Florence’s Brunelleschi Chapel - they would put a pot with beef and pepper in a corner of the terracotta ovens and leave it cooking while they carried on making the tiles, and find the dish ready for lunch.
Here's a great recipe for Peposo from Memorie di Angelina.
Sagra della Porchetta
At the early September Sagra della Porchetta in Monte San Savino diners can enjoy the famous herbed suckling pig; you will be suprised how much meat can be piled between two pieces of bread.
Porchetta is an entire pig roasted in a wood oven over several hours. The meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, liver, spleen and various aromatic herbs. The tradition of "porchetta" is strongly rooted in Monte San Savino, with production and sale carried out throughout the year in the nearby area, in weekly markets, in festivals or village festivals, and also via itinerant traders.
If you can't make it to the Sagra, then stop off at one of the itinerant traders, vans that you might see at the side of the road, sometimes with a couple of tables and chairs. Stop off for a glass of wine and a porchetta sandwich if you can, it's delicious and is always prepared according to tradition, roasted in a wood oven. The porchetta is eaten cut into slices as a second course or out in a sandwich.
At the July Sagra dello Gnocco Dolce in Monte San Savino the delicious cream-filled pastry tempts anyone with a sweet tooth. And in the Autumn many festivals offer the bounty of chestnuts, often ground into flour and seen in Castagnaccia, a popular chestnut cake featuring raisins, pine nuts, walnuts and rosemary.
To find out more about these food festivals have a look at the Visit Arezzo website and search under feasts and festivals on the right hand side of the top menu.
To find villas close to Arezzo, have a look at the page of villas near Arezzo.
Good Wines from Arezzo:
To accompany these dishes try:
- Chianti Colli Aretini DOCG
- Reds of Cortona DOC – which include white grapes grown around Cortona
- Valdichiana DOC
Serious wine aficionados may head off on the Strada del Vino wine route and take part in the tastings organized at the various wineries along the route.