We can hardly believe that Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma are finally man and wife. After all those guessing games, it seems like they tied the knot in the blink of an eye! And that too, in a beautiful resort in the heart of Tuscany, Italy’s famous wine region, also known for its culture of cucina povera or “poor cooking”.
Virushka are definitely not poor but we’re guessing their wedding menu might have featured at least a few local delights, prepared in the Tuscan style of simplicity and fresh ingredients. The thing about Italian cuisine is that it varies widely from region to region and in Florence, it’s all about beans, offal and innovative uses of stale bread.
Here are seven Tuscan staples we can’t wait to try (chances are, Virat and Anushka already did), paired with a classic glass of Chianti:
Papardelle alla lepre
Papardelle are broad, flat noodles, sometimes made using eggs. The egg papardelle are used in the making of papardelle alla lepre, a Tuscan dish consisting of pasta tossed in hare sauce. The process is quite lengthy, as the hare has to be marinated in wine and herbs for around 12 hours and then cooked for three hours to prepare the stock. We think it would be better to book a ticket to Italy than try to replicate that in our kitchens.
Crostini di fegato
We’re sure you love your crostinis already but in Tuscany, they come lathered with creamy chicken liver pâté spread. The paste also includes vegetables, butter, capers and anchovy. In traditional trattorias, you might find that the toasted bread has been doused in broth before being slathered with the pâté.
Tagliatelle al tartufo
Once you’ve tried truffle sauce, you won’t find anything else quite like it. Tuscan hills are home to rare varieties of white and black truffles and we’d give anything for a bowl of tagliatelle al tartufo or pasta in truffle sauce. Pecorino cheese imbued with tartufo and gelato topped with truffle shavings are also known to be scrumptious.
Torta di ceci
This popular street food is a slim, savoury cake made of chickpea flour. So if you’re vegan, vegetarian or gluten-intolerant, you can safely enjoy this soft delicacy with a crispy exterior and a generous seasoning of black pepper. The best way to have torta di ceci is to wedge it into a focaccia or baguette with grilled vegetables of your choice.
Local delicacies in Tuscany often feature strange meats that you might not have tried before. Lampredotto is actually the fourth stomach of the cow, served in broth-soaked panino with salsa verde and black pepper. Given its popularity among Florentine students and workers, we are tempted to give it a go.
Cantucci in vin santo
You can’t go wrong with these twice-baked almond cookies, softened by dipping them into vin santo, a classic Tuscan dessert wine. The prospect of biscotti with wine is a good enough lure for us to apply for a visa to Italy.
The last dish on our Tuscan wish-list is a healthy bean and kale soup that is boiled twice, leading to its name ‘ribollita. On day one, the soup is had with toasted bread. On day two, it’s re-boiled with olive oil and tastes even more delectable.
While you hunt for cheap flights to Italy, why not rustle up this easy-to-make tomato and basil bruschetta for a sumptuous evening snack?
How to make tomato and basil bruschetta:
1. Slice a whole wheat baguette into small pieces. Dust them with olive oil and rub each piece with a sliced clove of garlic. Chuck into the oven and bake until crisp.
2. Blanch and skin tomatoes, chop basil and garlic cloves. Chop the tomatoes and mix with basil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil. You can also add chopped onions if you like.
3. Remove the bread from the oven and top each piece with the tomato-basil mixture. You may also add mozzarella or parmesan shavings on top.
Tip: Some Balsamic vinegar might add more flavour to the tomato-basil mixture.