Find out what dishes to enjoy on your trip to Siena
Today, we will take you on a journey to discover Sienese cuisine and its authentic flavours.
Siena is a city of art and culture, but its wealth also lies in the local gastronomy based on simplicity and authentic products offered by the land of the surrounding countryside.
Siena is full of trattorias, typical restaurants, bakeries and traditional pastry shops; you cannot leave this city without tasting its delicacies!
What are the typical dishes you absolutely must try in Siena?
Spleen crostini, known as crostini neri di Siena (black crostini), are a traditional appetizer. This dish was traditionally made for the grain threshing meal in summer when housewives delighted workers with lively outdoor feasts. Usually, the spread was served in an earthenware bowl in the centre of the table and spread on dry bread previously soaked in broth.
Another dish definitely worth trying is pici, a handmade Sienese pasta made with water, flour and oil. The pici all’aglione are particularly famous, made with garlic-based seasoning. Alternatively, you can try pici with wild boar or Cinta Senese meat sauce.
Typical first courses in the Tuscan peasant tradition also include ribollita alla senese, a basic but very tasty winter dish! The base of this soup is stale bread (also used for pappa al pomodoro) and it’s enriched with beans and seasonal vegetables along with black cabbage, which is a widely used ingredient in Sienese cuisine). The name comes from ‘ri-bollire’, which means to boil again as it’s boiled twice to obtain the delicious flavour.
Among the main courses, we have ossobuco alla senese, a shank of veal braised with vegetables and herbs that is cooked for hours over low heat. The recipe has Milanese origins, but was popularized by Sienese cooks with the addition of lemon zest, thyme and sage. Another delicacy is Sienese tripe cut into small pieces and cooked with beans, tomatoes, olive oil and spices.
Among the desserts, the history of Siena is embodies especially in Ricciarelli. Similar to marzipan, it contains candied orange peel in addition to almonds, sugar and egg whites. Meanwhile, Panforte is a dessert consumed mainly at Christmas and is a dough made from honey, almonds and spices. It’s said that the first panforte was made in honour of Queen Margaret of Savoy who was staying in Siena for the Palio.
Siena is also synonymous with wine and wineries. The area is famous for its red Tuscan wines such as Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, and the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Food is culture and Sienese gastronomy represents the essence of the city’s culture. As stated by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton ‘food tells the story of where it came from, its soul and the story of the people who cooked it.’ Therefore, if you want to really get to know Siena, you cannot miss the culinary experiences this city offers.