Discover Garfagnana

Typical products

The mountain people could not waste their time in the kitchen cooking because they had to take care of their fields, woods and stables. For this reason this kind of cuisine is simple but at the same time rich and nourishing so that some basic dishes can be used as combined first and second courses.

This does not mean that this cuisine has a lack of flavours but they are enhanced by the freshness and simplicity of the ingredients. Air, land and water give this cuisine incomparable characteristics, but everyone can perceive ancient traditions and rituals in the process as well as the slow passing of time for the whole cycle of production. Each product creates a gastronomic journey with flavours that stir up sensations and emotions.

Tastes, flavours and names from the past

From Sweet Corn (rea mais) 8 file of Garfagnana, also called “Formentone”, milled in the water mills, it is possible to get the flour to prepare polenta gialla (yellow cornmeal polenta), a unique food present in all the rural tables during some months a year.

Polenta, accompanied with mushrooms or meat stew, salted codfish or immerged in Bolognese sauce and grated cheese, perfumed with one “salacchin” (herring), in case there was not nothing more, it was the main course par excellence.

And with the purpose of not wasting nothing, finished the ham, you take the bone, you boil for about three hours with beans and black cabbage flavored by onion sautéed, carrot, celery, garlic and a slice of lard, in the bouillon you have already obtained you boil formenton floor, pressing frequently for more 45 minutes.

The “Infarinata”, the name of this polenta, is perfect to eat hot, but also cut by slices when it is cold, and fried in the lard.

The PDO European trademark guarantees the genuineness and the work process of Garfagnana chestnut flour. During autumn the chestnut tree precious fruits are collected by hand, exsiccated for forty days on the “metati” (wooden and stoned structures) where the fire is nourished only by chestnut wood. After a careful manual selection the chestnuts are milled in the stoned mills and turned in flour with soft and delicate fragrance used for traditional polenta or cakes, as castagnaccio or necci with ricotta.


Classic recipe of  “Polenta di Neccio”

In the pot, when slightly salted water boils, you slowly put neccio flour on it and you shake with “meston” (wooden ladle)in order to not produce lumps, you leave boil for about thirty minutes, then you spill farina on the little table and you prepare the slices cutting them with “cavicchio” (a sort of a little arc made by willow) . You can eat this dish together with stew pork bones, or with fresh ricotta, with fried “biroldo” or bacon.


The PGI European Trademark PGI, gained in 1996, marks the genuineness of this very ancient cereal, basis of Romans’, Egyptians’ and Babylon’s food.

Its farming is hand down in Garfagnana during the centuries in the middle and high hills, it is not subjected to chemical processes, but it is collected and polished in the production area.

Traditionally it was used for soup and savory cakes, but it is also the ideal basis for main courses and salads in place of rice.


The classic recipe of  “Farro Soup”
(ingredients for 6 people)
300 g Garfagnana IGP Farro
1000 g potatoes
500 g beans
3 leafs of chard

Preparation: Sauté a bacon slice with minced carrot, onion and celery. Add potatoes earlier broken into small pieces and use beans before put in water, let brown and then add water, boil as a normal vegetable soup and add farro which does not need to be put in water, cook it for about 30 minutes, worrying about turning it frequently. Spice with extra virgin oil.

The flocks which graze the perfumed grasses of mountain meadows produce an exceptional milk that is almost only used for the production of select “pecorino”, a cheese whose strong and intense perfume, really appreciated and researched, can be bought directly at producers or at Home-made cheese factories which were able to preserve traditional systems of cheese production.
An excellent “pecorino” is the one obtained working Garfagnana sheeps’ raw milk, a local race, a genetic endangered heritage which the Tuscany Region together with some farmers is trying to recover its production.
Caciotta, on the other hand, is a fresh cheese made from cow’s milk or mixed, lower and flattened, perfect to accompany “focacce leve” and “crisciolette”.

The ancient fruits as “casciana” and “giappone” apple, sorb and the “macon” pears are only some local varieties that “Coltivatori Custodi” (guardian farmers) are conserving with the purpose of not losing the tastes of an ancient tradition. Moreover, perfumed and colourful mixed berries: blueberries, blackberries, currants, raspberries and strawberries eaten fresh, with ricotta or ice cream, converted in preserves and syrups to take in the cold and long winter the memory of the hot sun of Summer.

One of the few liqueurs, as well as grappa, present in the houses, was “Maraschino”, obtained by doing marinate maraschino cherries on the sun, to which you leave a piece of petiole, put in a vase with sugar. When sugar is well melted (about three days)you add a mixture of “sassolino”, anisette rum and cognac. You leave stand it at least one month.

In traditional cookery beans and lentils are, in association with cereals and pork meat, the basis of numerous dishes , till nowadays, in the fertile and sandy lands long Serchio river called, exactly, “fagiolaie” cultivate local varieties of beans as “giallorino”, “scritto”, “fico” or “mascherino”.

Classic Recipe of  “Tajarini con i Fagioli”
The basis of this simple and tasteful recipe is thick bouillon obtained cooking, together with an unavoidable sautéed with bacon, beans (before in water) and potatoes. “Tajarini” are made by kneading corn flour, eggs, water and salt, you roll the pasta obtained in this way thanks to a rolling pin, then you roll and cut with a knife obtaining thin strips that you cook in the boiling bouillon. The dish becomes more tasteful is you leave it stand and eat the following day.

Garfagnana is famous for its mushroom. From chestnuts to beech wood, every place is good to collect these delicious berries.

Certainly the most wanted is porcino mushroom with its different species, but the experts can find in Garfagnana many kinds of eatable mushrooms. The mycological exhibitions are numerous and gathered in a unique calendar; they teach to recognise the different species.  The Local Health Service certifies the security of what you collect, and if you are not experts it is advisable to abstain from eating mushrooms whereof we are not sure of their edibility.

Rules for epigeous (above ground) mushroom picking:
Download the info

An animal that can be considered essential to its role in alimentation and in Garfagnana gastronomic tradition is without doubt the pork whose all parts are used.

The preparation of those meats consists in a “rite” to which all family takes part, between the most traditional cured meats: “biroldo”, protected by Slow Food, is a loaf shaped sausage, with a diameter of about 20 cm.

It is dark-red with a quite soft solidity and an intense perfume of species and aromas; it is produced by rough fragments of pork’s some parts mixed with blood.

“Mondiola”, a sort of salami by the characteristic U shaped in the extremities, with as the bottom a bay leaf, soft solidity, spiced perfume and lard.

The ham, king of cured meats, well seasoned, savory, worked keeping part of the leg to facilitate its suspension in the cellar, is often called “bazzone”.

Since time immemorial trouts, which were from fresh and clean waters of the streams, were both really appreciated  due to fresh consumption and conserved thanks to a special process  called “marinatura”. Till nowadays modern diet considers trout as a fundamental food to the easy digestion of its meats and for the reduced presence of  greases.

In Serchio Valley there are two varieties of trouts: “fario” one finds its ideal habitat in the freshest and oxygenated waters of high-flying streams, meanwhile “iridea” one prefers, instead, hotter and calmer waters; both varieties are really fine and can be found also at farmers’ who produce trouts as a fresh consumption and recolonization.

European Community recognized Serchio Valley waters as an unscathed area from illnesses that frequently damage those fishes.


Classic recipe of  Trota marinata
Fillet the trout in 4 cm little pieces. Pass the pieces on the white flour and brown them in a pan with olive oil. Then put them in a terrine; add an half glass of wine vinegar, an handful of minced parsley with an half clove of garlic and a little chili pepper. Sauté for about two minutes and fill the well hot liquid on the trouts in the terrine. Cover with a cover. So marinated trout conserves also for a week, it is perfect to serve as a tasteful appetizer.

It is an association established in 2017 thanks to a pilot project, carried out by the Unione Comuni Garfagnana, wanted by the Tuscany Region and financed by Terre Regionali Toscane, with the signing of the Community Charter by 54 members.



The network was created with the aim of developing and enhancing local productions, paying particular attention to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity and ecosystems, based on these fundamental principles:
Good food: the products must be of good quality;
Ethical food: producers must receive a fair remuneration, adequate for the work performed and the quality of the product and, in turn, must offer their products at fair and transparent prices. There must be no discrimination based on gender, political or religious beliefs in the supply chain. Exploitation must be excluded.
Sustainable food: production techniques must be as environmentally sustainable as possible, not necessarily certified organic, they must be put into practice according to the principles of agroecology, respecting animal welfare and consumer health.

More info Comunità del cibo della Garfagnana


The wine once produced in Garfagnana was so sour and low in alcohol that during a pastoral visit to the parish of the village of Sassi (stones), the Bishop commented on the wine that was offered to him: “If it is made of stones (Sassi) it is also good, but if it should be of grapes cut to stock those vines!!”
Striscino or Zezzoron, as that wine was called, today is just a memory. Thanks to a careful choice of vines, correct vinification, and probably also climate change, the quality of the wine has significantly improved to reach peaks of excellence in the biodynamic production of the Fiattone vineyards, or in the mountain vineyards of Careggine.

The Plant Nursery of Unione Comuni Garfagnana has cataloged over 100 varieties of vines once cultivated in Garfagnana, of which 25 are indigenous. Among these, some varieties produce excellent sparkling wine, others were used to produce “Vin di Grana”, or raisin wine.

Thanks to the pureness of the air and the abundance of spring’s flowerings until autumn starting to the lowest altitudes to the highest tops of Valley, the tireless bees product one of the best European honeys: from limpid acacia honey to perfumed “millefiori” (a kind of honey made by many flowers), up to chestnut honey with its strong and intense perfume.

The APIGARFAGNANA brand guarantees the origin and quality of the Garfagnana Honey, produced by over 50 members.

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