6 Different Siena Foods (More than Pizza)
6 different Siena foods
Siena is one of the most astounding and magical cities in the whole of Italy. It is also a cuisine heaven.
This Tuscan treasure is renowned for its sublime architecture and of course the exciting Palio di Siena horse race. Imagine walking through the historic UNESCO centre and marvelling at the inspiring Romanesque Cathedral.
Alternatively, imagine climbing the 200+ steps of the towering Torre Del Mangia to witness the streets of Siena sprawled out beneath you like a miniature model city.
Aside from the magnificent culture and beautiful historic centre, Siena is also a culinary haven. You may not know, but Siena boasts a superb range of world-class restaurants and bistros.
Furthermore, if you speak to the locals and dig a little deeper, you can find some truly delightful and different Siena foods waiting to be sampled.
Siena a Culinary Delight
Forget about cathedrals and the Piazza del Campo – there is plenty of time to explore the streets of Siena – instead, why not embark on a culinary expedition and hunt down the fascinating foods of this Tuscan gem?
By Phillip Capper
Can you think of anything better than relaxing in a cosy restaurant tucked away in the side streets of Siena, and enjoying a starter of Crostini di Fegato followed by a succulent dish of Arista Roast Pork?
To help your Sienese adventure, we have searched far and wide and found six amazing foods you can sample in this historic city.
What’s more, we have veered away from the traditional Italian pasta and pizza so you can see the other foods Italy has to offer. Once you have drooled over these fantastic treasures, we are sure you will want to book the next available flight to Siena and dash to the nearest restaurant! Tuck in!
1. Fagioli All’uccelletto
- What is it: Beans in tomato sauce with sausage meat
- Where can you find it: Osteria Da Cice and other restaurants
- Standout local ingredient: Fresh tomatoes
By Michela Simoncini
Feels for Beans?
Tuscans are lovingly known as bean eaters – you will see the truth of this statement when visiting Siena. We guarantee that in most restaurants you can find at least two dishes served with beans!
Owing to this fact, one of the most popular Sienese side dishes is Fagioli All’uccelletto – beans with tomato sauce. A simple but hearty and filling dish, Fagioli is adored by all Sienese citizens and dished up in ample amounts around family tables.
The main Fagioli All’uccelletto ingredients include:
- White beans
- Pureed tomatoes
- Olive oil
This simple combination creates a superb taste. If you want something extra, consider ordering Fagioli with sausage – the addition of locally reared pork sausage takes this dish to the next level and gives additional texture and flavour.
- Type: Starter
- What is it: Vegetable and Bread soup
- Where can you find it: Most restaurants as a starter or first course
- Standout local ingredient: Cavolo Nero (Winter Black Cabbage)
By Kent Wang
What is so special about re-boiled food?
As you will see, Sienese cooking includes little to no waste and recipes often use leftovers from previous meals – this means that the taste and flavours are simply divine.
Ribollita is another Tuscan specialty that has a great deal of local variance. The basic ingredients and process remain the same, but each household in the city will have their own tricks and special additives.
Ribollita translates as re-boiled, and this is in essence what this dish is – re-boiled soup and bread.
Now, we accept this might sound unappealing, but the combination is heavenly! Can you imagine tucking into a plate of hot minestrone soup mixed with delicious home-made bread?
The soup has been resting for two days, and has been layered with slightly stale, leftover bread – this delectable combination is then re-boiled. Made with regional produce and authentic Sienese ingredients, Ribollita will warm your stomach and leave you feeling content.
3. Crostini di Fegato
- Type: Starter
- What is it: Chicken Liver pate with crusty bread and seasoning
By Leigh Anne Meeks
Also known as the Tuscan Crostini, this sumptuous starter is a staple of Sienese meals. In medieval times, Crostini was made with leftovers and therefore was considered a meal of the peasants.
Today, Crostini di Fegato is still made in much the same way – using leftover bread and scraps of ingredients from other meals. Each Sienese family has their own variation on this dish, therefore, it is possible to visit two different restaurants and taste a completely different array of flavours each time.
The main Crostini di Fegato ingredients include:
- chicken liver (from chickens raised in the city of course)
- stale Tuscan bread.
What makes Crostini di Fegato so tasty and indulgent is the fact that all the ingredients are locally sourced. Additionally, the combination of the chicken liver and other ingredients creates a sublime and strong flavour. As a starter, there is no better option when sampling your first meal in Siena.
- Type: Snack or Desert
- What is it: A mixture of dried fruits, nuts and medieval spices
- Where can you find it: Everywhere!
- Standout local ingredient: Roasted hazelnuts
The Italian Hazelnut
If you have a sweet tooth, you will gorge on wedge after wedge of Panforte during your Sienese adventure. Just imagine picking up a chunk of this traditional creation and taking a hearty bite.
The hazelnuts and walnuts crunch, the dried fruits release their juices and the combination of sweet ingredients is unforgettable!
Panforte puts Panettone to shame. The recipe for this sumptuous cake has been handed down since medieval times and remains just as popular in modern Siena.
The main Panforte ingredients include:
- dried fruits
- powerful concoction of spices
The flavour, texture and sugar overload will prove irresistible. Even if you are not a huge dessert fan, we urge you to try a slice of this historic desert as you walk towards the Piazza del Campo.
- Type: Main Course
- What is it: A hearty mixed meat stew
- Where can you find it: Farmhouses, B&Bs, Restaurants
- Standout local ingredient: Tuscan Bread
By Marco Prete
Some Sienese Stew?
In ages past, Sienese families would use the less valued cuts of meat to create delicious stews – this tradition continues today and has created Scottiglia. At its most basic, Scottiglia is a mixed meat stew, but this hearty dish offers so much more!
The variety of meats is pleasing to the pallet. The fresh vegetables and stock add additional textures and taste. And who can forget a few slices of Tuscan bread to dip in the stew an which restaurant you visit.
The common Scottiglia types include:
- chicken veal
Try to sample Scottiglia with a couple of unusual meats in to widen your pallet – if possible try Scottiglia with Hare and Pheasant – the combination is out of this world!
6. Arista Roast Pork
- Type: Main Course
- What is it: Roast Pork cooked in various sauces and usually served with beans
- Where can you find it: Central restaurants in Siena
By Amber DeGrace
Pork with Italian Herbs:
Standout local ingredient: Rosemary fresh from the farm Tuscan pork is something of a specialty and Arista Pork is a dish that has been made in Siena for hundreds of years.
You simply cannot pass up on the chance to sample a slice of perfectly cooked tender pork bursting with flavour when visiting Siena. As the main course, Arista Pork is usually served with beans and potatoes and creates a filling and mouth-watering meal.
The main Arista Roast Pork ingredients include:
- medley of herbs including – rosemary and ground pepper
Moreover, white wine is usually used to add a subtle sweetness to the dish and to complement the gravy.
For the best tasting Arista Pork, look for restaurants that cook the meat on a spit – slow-roasted Sienese pork is quite outstanding – just picture the tender pork spinning slowly on the spit with the aroma of fresh rosemary and garlic invading your nostrils!
More than Pasta and Pizza
There you have it – six hidden culinary treasures waiting for you in historic Siena. If you can, we urge you to try and fit all six different Siena foods in one spectacular meal!
By Luca Nebuloni
You start with a small appetizer of Crostini di Fegato to set your taste buds alight. Next, you taste a small bowl of both Scottilgia and Ribollita whilst the main course is sizzling.
Once you have mopped up the last pieces of stew with a slice of Tuscan bread, your Arista Pork with a side order of Fagioli All’uccelletto arrives – the smell is simply divine!
As you chew the last piece of perfectly cooked pork, an immense wedge of panforte is presented before you. All of this is complemented by a glass or two of regional wine – the perfect Sienese meal!
We hope this article has made your stomach ache for a sample of Sienese cuisine so why not start planning your Tuscan food adventure today?