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Siena Guide Italy

Eating and Drinking

Eating and Drinking

Siena cooking is characterized by cereals, pulses, herbs, game and pork, in particular the famous cinta senese, a wonderful breed of pigs that is bred only in Chianti.
One of the most typical products in this area are cold meats such as soppressata, finocchiona and capocolli, in addition to other specialties made from wild boar meat. The area is also famous for cheeses such as cacio pecorino, from the Siena clay lands and marzolino.
Extra virgin olive oil is also a typical product of the Siena hills: This oil, with its unmistakable fruity aroma, is produced using the olives that grow in the Chianti countryside. It is used in all traditional Siena dishes, especially crude so that its particular taste can be noted.
A typical Siena lunch or dinner may begin with an hors d’oeuvre of chicken liver crostini, or game crostini, followed by lentil soup with pheasant, Siena bean soup or frog soup, in addition to the classic Ribollita and pasta with chick peas. Siena restaurants and trattorias offer various choices for the second course – from hare to sweet and sour wild boar, roast pork, which can also be served cold with garlic and rosemary.
As dessert we recommend two sweets that belong to the famous Siena confectionery tradition: panforte and ricciarelli. Panforte is an ancient sweet, used for many centuries only for religious ceremonies. This filling sweet, that is typically eaten at Christmas, is prepared with flour, almonds, candied fruit, dry fruit and spices, all laid on a thin wafer.
Ricciarelli are lozenge-shaped almond biscuits made by mixing almond paste, honey and vanilla and baked in the over to give them their typical crunchy outer layer.
We shall end this section with a mention of wine, a jewel in the crown of the Tuscany region. Wine production in the Chianti countryside goes back to ancient times: some Etruscan finds have shown that grapes were already grown at that time, but Chianti was first associated with wine starting in 1404. Over the centuries, the wine known as Chianti Classico has become more and more famous in Italy and abroad. Some of the most famous wines are Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino and the exceptional Brunello di Montalcino, produced from a Sangiovese vine in the borough of Montalcino, which is aged for 4 years at least in oak or chestnut casks. Today, 5 different DOCG wines and 12 DOC wines are produced in the area around Siena.

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