Storia della Cucina Italiana Ristoranti Tuscany What the Etruscans ate and drank

Tuscany Tuscany

Tuscany

What the Etruscans ate and drank


The true ancestors of Tuscan cooking where the Etruscans who next to the Romans where famous as great drinkers dedicated to the pleasures of the table. This use was the deduction by some latin authors as the cause of their decadence. The land of Etruria was very fertile and productive: this was the testimony given by archeological reports from latin texts, were cultivated above all by orchards, pulses and cereals, so much so that their own land had the capability of giving grain to Rome in their difficult moments of famine.
Etruscan cooking was based above all on farro which in minestrone was widely used throughout all social levels, and also as a base was the use of pulses such as lentils, broad beans, chick peas. But there is also testimony to the consumption of large quantities of meats such as bovine, ovine, swine and wild animals, above all deer and wild pigs that were cooked on three legged charcoal grills and grills or in grand caldroons of bronze and where obviously reserved for the well-off classes, to be used especially for banquets. On this table there was even included fish, caught by using the old tradition of hook and net; but certainly this food was less used in respect to meat because it was less available. Widely used instead was milk and its derivatives, as the the breeding of swine, goats and bovine was intense, especially in the southern part of Etruria. Also the less well-to-do classes could enrich their food with fruit and vegetables that in a good year was dried and even exported to Gallia. The condiments were mostly of animal origin, but from the VII century B.C. there was also produced olive oil which was used principally in the making of ointments and perfumes, but also in the preparation of food. The drink most used, the only one in which there is joint testimony, is wine, coming from Greece during the VIII century B.C. but already produced in successive centuries in all of Etruria and even exported to various regions of the Mediterranean. A wine that was not possible to drink undiluted, because it was very strong; and had to be mixed with large quantities of water using large jars with large openings that permitted one to take it out easily. It was the only drink reserved for symposiums and banquets and was served from large oblong terracotta vases with handles or in jugs of various forms by numerous slaves that attended to the participants in richly decorated surroundings, cheered up by music and dancers in which also were women (who were not used by other populations, for example in Greece). The participation in symposiums and banquets earned a certain bad name for the Etruscan women, above all for those who were strong and immoderate drinkers of wine. Their cooking was very highly developed and the Etruscans taught much to the Romans of which today remain here in Tuscany some traces, especially the widely spread use (also thanks to the modern Mediterranean diet) of cereals and the appreciated minestrone of farro.


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