What makes Tuscany, and Florence in particular, so popular with Americans and tourists from around the world? Is it the art? Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, it certainly offers unparalleled masterpieces to see. Is it simply its history as one of the requisite stops on the “Grand Tour,” a place that people have gotten so used to visiting that it remains a customary stop on any tour to Italy? Or is it the feel of the place, the ineffable friendliness, where each small town feels like home and offers delights to discover?
Is it the food and wine? Quintessentially Italian, hearty and delicious, but capable of being refined and elegant?
We’re so excited about our new cooking vacation in Florence, the 5-night Florence for the Food Lover, that we’ve been looking back through our posts on this part of Tuscany.
Did you know that the famous “Super Tuscan” wines were originally labeled “Vino da Tavola,” or lowly “table wine,” the lowest of the wine classifications at the time? That’s because in the 70’s, when the first Super Tuscans hit the market, the wine rules governing the production of Chianti wine (and other DOC wines) were so stringent (some might say counter-productive) that they made it difficult or impossible to create great wines. Winemakers started bucking the rules and making the wines they wanted, not caring if they were sacrificing the precious DOC rules to do so.
Now of course, the rules have changed, and whether you are drinking a Super Tuscan or a fine Chianti Riserva, which many locals prefer, calling it more decidedly “Tuscan” in flavor, you are sure to be pleased. In our Florence cooking vacations, you get to tour the Chianti countryside and visit local Chianti wineries with wine tastings.
Have you been to Florence? What is your favorite Tuscan wine? What Tuscan dishes do you like to pair it with?
By Peg Kern
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