Great food from Mugello near Florence: How Tuscan cooking influenced French cuisine? 

great food from Mugello near FlorenceChristmas time is a great time to be in Mugello near Florence.

Whether for food, oil and wine tasting holiday just at a stone’s throw from Florence or for a short visit .  Did really Tuscan cooking influenced French cuisine?

At home in Mugello, mum still prepares home made cookies and a super Torta in Balconata cake dating back to the Medici times. But of course we eat that at the end of the meal. We always start off with chicken liver crostini as a starter.

The traditional 1st course is always hand made cappelletti in chicken soup, and as a 2nd course mum gives the best of herself with a beautiful honed stuffed capon which I wouldn’t eat in any restaurant of the world but my mother’s.

Christmas food brings me here trying to catch up with the riveting issue of leadership in world cuisine for the friends of Mugello&Tuscany. I was saying that we in Italy should be speaking of at least 20 different cuisines (1 for each region). However in this case as we are talking world scale I’d stick to a general median national range.

So I’ll consider just the concept of national cuisines.

In this respect I’d have to admit that high French cooking still has the lead over the Italian one. Despite this French cuisine has much to owe to at least Tuscan cooking at the time of the Medici.

So, how did Tuscan cooking influence french cuisine ?

In fact before 1533 when Catherine de’ Medici married Henry II of France thus becoming queen of France, French cooking was really in bad shape. In fact it was the refined Tuscan cooking traditions of the Renaissance to give new life to the French table. Some say it was so shabby as not to even notice the difference between sweet and sour.

There’s has been debate over the real influence of Catherine de’ Medici on French cuisine. Nobody however disputes the fact that she became for over 30 years a real patroness of the arts as much as the Medici family had done in the early Renaissance in Florence.

Remember the Medici family originally came from the Mugello from where we are running this blog on great food from Mugello near Florence. Of course the blog is connected to the Mugello & Tuscany website which is the best place to find a holiday in Tuscany with a difference. But let’s get back to the dispute between French and Italian cuisine.

In fact the French Renaissance was first bolstered by Francis I (Catherine’s father-in-law) during his campaigns in Italy. Leonardo another Tuscan glory was then drawn to France paving the way to a full blown late French Renaissance . Catherine de’ Medici greatly admired Francis I and had in her veins the patronage spirit of the Medici.

It’s true that she didn’t bring to France all the food and recipes she’s been accounted for by legend but it is also true that France’s kings’ entourages starting from Charles VIII in 1494-5 and especially Francis I on several occasions had come to appreciate Italian recipes and dishes bringing home ingredients and kitchen knowhow.

besides a vast Italian clan had visited France for the wedding of Catherine de’ Medici’s father to her French-born mother.

Most critics agree now that all this ferment over cooking really started in Italy. It then took an original path over the next centuries leading to the great tradition of the French cuisine.

It has to be remembered that the French cuisine boomed along with the great French winemaking tradition.  French wine became superior to any other to these days even if things are changing here as I hope demostrate. I have in mind in a further blog article catching up with the pinot noir blog article triggered by a pinot noir wine tasting in the castle of Scarperia, in Mugello.

No more digressions now. So back to the original track.

Yes I agree that haute cuisine should have a French flag on it .  However in Italy there’s a more widespread culture of cooking and of preparing quality and tasty meals for the family.

Italian households are all potentially great restaurants and there’s great food from Mugello near Florence.

That’s why the many agriturismi or farm holiday resorts mushroomed all over Italy and in particular in Tuscany. Over the last decade they have found it easy to provide also food to tourists. Usually it is of great quality and excellent value for money.

By the way the dishes pictured here are brignoli from Anghiari near Arezzo, passatelli (pasta formed of bread crumbs, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon, and nutmeg then cooked in chicken broth) from the Marche region and tortelli del MugelloTortelli di patate are soft, square, yellow ravioli filled with mashed potato cheese, garlic and parsley.

They smell like fresh pasta and taste like potatoes. Tortelli di patate are typical of the area north of Florence known as Mugello . 

So if you want a great holiday near Florence come to the Mugello .  There’s great food from Mugello near Florence. Among other things you’ll discover how Tuscan cooking influenced French cuisine

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