If you love food and you have decided to travel to Siena, you have made the right decision! Siena is the land of very productive hills and fields and great traditional food. Today we are suggesting what to eat in Siena. Take a look!
Try the local products
It wouldn’t be a complete trip to Siena if you are not going to taste the local specialties. Among plenty of great products, we can mention the pecorino of Pienza. Siena’s most famous cheese, which is made of sheep’s milk and has an amazing taste if you pair it with honey. Buy it right in Pienza, an enchanting village with characteristic cobblestone alleys and gorgeous valley views in Val d’Orcia.
Capocollo and finocchiona from Cinta Senese are local cured meats found around Siena. For something even more particular try the buristo: pork sausage flavoured with raisins and pine nuts.
You can visit the local shops to get a quick taste of what the Sienese people eat or you can participate in one of the tours that explain the whole process of cooking the meals and earn some new skills from your cooking class.
1- Pici, the Sienese pasta
Pici is the most typical Sienese pasta. It is a rustic homemade spaghetti with just water, flour, and oil. If you are vegetarian, you would enjoy pici all’aglione, the sauce has only locally grown garlic from Valdichiana sautéed and vegetables, fresh tomatoes and you can pair it with white wine.
The homemade Pici are similar to spaghetti, just thicker and with less ingredients. Eggs are not generally included in the traditional recipe, but it depends also on family’s tradition and it’s generally one egg every one kilo of flour. These spaghetti are stretched by hand, so they result quite thick and rough, perfect to be served with sauces.
The most typical recipe are Pici cacio e pepe and/or Pici all’aglione.
2- Black & White Truffles
Truffle is called the diamond of the kitchen and is a species of genus Tuber, found only in few areas around Italy. The Crete Senesi region is one of the few Tuscan areas, where you could go truffle hunting.
The best eating months are October and November, when truffles are found between the roots of hazel, oak and poplar and sold at fairs and markets.
Panforte is a typical Christmas cake. Its recipe comes from the Middle Ages, when it was named Panpepato because of the main ingredients, i.e. spices and pepper. It used to be the cake used by noble families, aristocrats and clergy to celebrate important occasions such as Christmas.
The original recipe includes 17 different ingredients, from honey to almonds and spices. The ingredients are 17 since the beginning of 18th century and symbolize the actual number of the contrade of the Palio.
4- Florentine T-bone steak
If you love meat, Tuscany and the province of Siena are definitely for you. Masterful grilling and excellent raw ingredients guarantee a delicious offering of second courses. The Chianina breed of bovine is the meat par excellence in restaurants serving the famous Florentine T-bone steak.
5- Cinta Senese
If you want to taste something even more characteristic, venture towards Cinta Senese where the local breed of pig has been featured in its cuisine since ancient times. Another traditional
6- Gnudi Senesi
Gnudi Senesi is another local specialty. Gnud expresses the meaning of “naked” in Italian and refers to the ravioli-style dish made without a pasta exterior. More like gnocchi, they are prepared with spinach or chard, borage and nettle, plus ricotta and eggs, and served in a tomato sauce.
7- Tuscan ‘sciocco’ bread
‘Sciocco’ bread is a typical Tuscan bread tradition of preparing salt-free bread in Tuscany doubtless developed at a time when there was an acute shortage of salt, and the people were used to the bland flavor of pane sciocco
8- Pan co’ Santi
In Fall don’t miss the Pan co’ Santi, a traditional bread prepared in November for the Feast of All Saints’ Day. The fragrant bread is studded with walnuts and raisins and can be eaten alone or with dishes like roast meat.
9- Sienese Soup
Also order the Sienese soup, similar to the Florentine ribollita, which features black cabbage, Tuscan ‘sciocco‘ bread (without any salt) and cannellini beans.
Just as famous as panforte are the cantucci – biscuits with almonds that pair perfectly with Vinsanto – and ricciarelli which are made from almond paste and whitened with icing sugar.
Tips for your Siena trip
Make sure you have the proper items with you to make everything easier and more comfortable.
- Stay safe – bring face masks and hand sanitizer!
- Water bottle – one or two.
- Camera – document your trip and make it easier to remember.
- Comfortable shoes – For sure!
- Cozy clothes – choose clothes that make you feel good.
- Battery pack – keep your phone and/or camera charged.