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During your holiday in Tuscany don't miss tasting the number one specialty of Tuscan cuisine: the famous Bistecca "alla Fiorentina".

For the original Fiorentina steak three things are needed: The right meat, the right cut and the right ember. 

The meat must be from the bovine race Chianina, a historic Tuscan breed, controlled by the only Italian syndicate for fresh meat approved at European level. It is protected by a IGP brand, which allows to trace the meat from its native grazier to the approved butcher, the only one authorised to expose the label.
For the ripening of the beef, which determines the steak's tenderness, we rely on the experience of our butcher Nicola. The steak is cut from the sirloin of a roughly 20 months old animal, "two fingers" high (4-5 cm, must keep standing if put vertical) with a weight of around 1 kg. It contains the classic T-bone together with the tasty strip loin including the white fat strip and, depending on its size, the tender loin.

The preparation of the ember is an art by itself. It's a job which takes around one hour. We burn an abundant quantity of holm, olive or oak wood. As soon as the fire has taken the fine wood, the blocks are added all at the same time in order to generate a homogeneous fervent ember without flames. After distributing it all over the barbecue, we put the grid on it at a distance of around 12 cm and let it heat for some minutes. 
Having done this, we put the steak, which shall have ambient temperature, on the grid, taking care to pick it by no means. The grilling must be intense and violent in order to create a conspicuous crust that keeps all the juice inside the meat. After a few minutes we turn the steak so that also the other side gets crusty. In this way we get a delicious tasty and tender steak, well roasted on the outside, red, soft an juicy inside.

Salt is put on each side immediately upon grilling Nothing else is needed to accentuate the flavour of the steak, if it is the real "Fiorentina".

This dish should be enjoyed without any side dish, if not with a fresh salad or some rucola dressed with a premium olive oil.
Tuscan cuisine The best thing to do after horse riding is to enjoy a good meal. In your agritursimo upon return from horse trekking you may find the dining tables prepared with specialties of Tuscan cuisine. It is a cuisine committed to traditions and ancient flavours. The dishes are simple and genuine, originating from premium local raw materials. What makes our cuisine one of the best in Italy, is the wise use of aromatic herbs and plants growing in the countryside, such as wild fennel, wild asparagus and myrthle. Try it during your holiday in Tuscany in a typical farmhouse restaurant, a half board countryhouse or a trattoria. In the following we mention just a few of the local dishes of the area around Volterra.

Antipasti Our bruschetta, more lovely called "fettunta", is a slice of Tuscan bread, slightly roasted on wood ember,  rubbed with fresh garlic, which the traditionalists suggest to scrub only on the border of the roasted bread, and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil. With our olive oil the bread becomes a masterpiece, in particular in November, at the return from the oil-mill, when the olive oil, rigorously unfiltered and with a slightly bitterish taste, is still a little warm and spreads out an intense fruity perfume.

Bruschette can become a colourful antipasto with a touch of fantasy: try the bruschetta with salsiccia and anis, the bruschetta with mushroom from the holm-grove and the one with liver pâté and thyme. Obviously you shouldn't miss  the plate of salami and ham of our local pork breed, the cinta senese. Taste the traditional finocchiona, a salami with fresh flavour of fennel seeds.  

Starters The starters on Tuscan dining tables are  usually based on tomato and basil. In summer time we prepare the panzanella and the pappa al pomodoro, specialties with tomato, bread, basil and olive oil served at ambient temperature. All over the year people appreciate the cold or hot soups based on legumes and spelt. Do you wish tuse your holiday learning how we do home made pasta in Italy? You may participate at one of the cooking courses at the farmhouse preparing pappardelle, strozzapreti, ravioli or gnocchi, which are served with mushrooms of the surrounding woods or with fresh seafood from the nearby Etruscan Coast. 

Once a week we cook bread in the ancient wood-burning stove: Employ all your fantasy in creating your own style of Focaccia, or bread with olives, rosemary and sunflower-seeds, with spelt flour, bran or onions. Or cook the traditional unsalted Tuscan bread that perfectly fits to the tasty Tuscan salami.

Main-courses The dish that deserves a place of honour among Tuscan main courses is the marvellous Bistecca alla Fiorentina. For those who love game we cook rabbit, wild boar and deer in the pot with olives and bay leaves. In Tuscany pork meat becomes a delicacy thanks to its native Cinta Senese pigs. This race, which grows up pasturing in forests, feeding on acorns, tubers and roots, delivers a particularly tender and tasty meat. Try the Arista in rosemary crust cooked in the stove, the Tagliata di Cinta Senese with Fagioli all'Uccelletto and  the mixed barbecue with spare ribs, cutlet and sausage.

A pleasant alternative to meat is the omelette with wild herbs, the various vegetables either grilled or traditionally fried in a light batter. Don't miss our fabulous artichokes, raw "in pinzimonio" or baked "in tegame" with potato, and in spring time the extraordinary wild asparagus or the fresh baccelli-beans with pecorino-cheese.

Cakes Start your day with a fragrant crostata, our typical marmalade pie. We use exclusively home made marmalade and jams, sweetened with brown cane-sugar. In our climate figs, cherries and apricots grow very well and develop a superb aroma. All along the hedgerows we collect blackberries and in the Tuscan macchia we pick up myrthle. We use the famous strawberry from Terriciola of the nearby Val d'Era to make a jam unique for its fruity taste and its smell. Pies are delicious also with a cream of sheep-ricotta, that is delivered still warm from our trusted shepherd Francesco - even more delicious if baked in the wood-burning stove.

The vast chestnut-forest of Castelnuovo offers the key ingredient of Tuscany's most famous pie: the castagnaccio. But not all chestnuts go into cakes. We keep some of them for preparing the hot marroni in the first cold evenings of autumn. We enjoy them while sitting around the ancient fireplace in the dining room, tasting a glass of delicious new red wine.

Pecorino cheese Pomarance has a strong tradition in sheep farming. Shepherds deliver a fantastic pecorino cheese, that we suggest to enrich with some local honey. We are proud of the delicious lamb meat of the Pomarancina-race, controlled by an own quality label.

Olive oil In terms of quality our paramount product  is the extra-virgin olive oil. It is produced by small family driven farms and olives are harvested by hand, as in ancient times. This is to safeguard the fragile fruit and finally to assure a superior quality of the oil (see farming). Our olive oil is characterised by a strong personality, green colour with light yellow shimmers, evident fruity taste with a slightly bitterish note and an intense olive perfume.

Red wine From Sangiovese and Trebbiano grapes we produce a sincere red wine, with a strong body and a fresh grapy flavour. Frankly it is not as noble as the great Chianti or Montepulciano wines, but it is a perfect expression of nature, being subject to absolutely no manipulation. What you taste is only pure grapes, the sun and the flavour of the soil of Tuscany.

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