After I’ve booked a holiday, I instantly start researching the local cuisine and start checking out restaurant reviews. I love sampling different dishes when I’m away and make it my mission to try something new every evening.
The Italian city of Pisa sounds like a foodie heaven. Enjoying fresh pasta, homemade pizzas and sumptuous desserts is a treat, so the thought of eating this type of food every night is amazing! The Pisa region as a whole offers mouth-watering dishes, so it can be worth picking up car hire from Pisa Airport if you fancy going on a culinary adventure.
Here is a guide to the food and drink I think you should definitely try when in Pisa.
Truffles (not the chocolate variety!) are definitely a delicacy and a food I’ve always wanted to try. Used by the best chefs across the globe, the province of Pisa boasts plentiful growth, particularly in the San Miniato hills, where the white truffle is found. This means you’ll spot truffle-infused dishes on many restaurant menus and I’d recommend you give it a go. Pisa isn’t just home to the white truffle, but also the black, scorzone and themarzuolo varieties. Hop in your car and head to the hamlets in the truffle-producing areas – you can check out market shows dedicated to the food.
Extra virgin olive oil
You’ll certainly taste the difference when your food is cooked in the extra virgin olive oil produced in Pisa. But before you try the oil as a base for other ingredients, make sure you order a tasty selection of breads and dip them straight into the oil – you will really be able to pick out its flavours. There are four production areas in the Pisa province, each producing a slightly different olive oil. For example, produce made in the Monti Pisani district is yellow with hints of green, with a little bit of spice in an overall fruity aroma.
Of course, a hearty Italian meal isn’t complete with a glass or two of local wine to wash it all down with. I love trying the wines of different regions and Pisa doesn’t disappoint. Whether your tipple of choice is red, white or rose, you’ll have fun trying to find your favourite one! Perhaps the most renowned wine in the Pisa province is Nettare di Bacco, so make sure you sample a glass or two. If you have a car, it’s the perfect excuse to visit some of the region’s vineyards, where a guide will go into detail as to the history and production process of the wine. The Cecina Valley is a good place to head to, where you’ll not only participate in tasting sessions, but also soak up beautiful scenery and architecture.
When dining in the city, you’ll notice the same dishes crop up at different restaurants as they’re popular with locals and tourists alike. With the sea nearby, seafood is a good choice, with marinated eels, clam risotto and salted cod with olives a great introduction. A personal favourite is chicken liver crostini, as well as the succulent Volterra ham.
Larded pheasant from San Rossore and veal cutlets will be high up the dining agenda for meat lovers, while vegetarians will no doubt enjoy the endless fresh pasta options, complete with those local truffles and the olive oil I mentioned.
To round off the perfect meal, try chestnut cake and Calcinaia nozza, which is a type of wafer.
I’m certainly hungry now – if you’ve been to Pisa, do you have any restaurant recommendations?