Vegetarian/Vegan Food for Your Wedding in Tuscany

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As you know Italians love their food so you can imagine in an Italian wedding menu there will be more dishes than in your standard wedding menu.

Tuscan Wedding menus are usually structured as follows:

– canapés -a spread out of several starters

– two first courses ( usually pasta, rice or ravioli)

– two main courses

– side orders

– wedding cake

– coffee and Tuscan digestive liqueurs

Like in many countryside areas in Italy, in the past Tuscan farmers did not have much meat available, therefore they used a lot of pulses and vegetables in their diet and throw away leftover bread was not even contemplated. Food was mainly seen as Mother earth’s gift. Panzanella, for example, is a cold bread salad made with pieces of bread, tomatoes, onions and basil. A lot of delicious recipes are purely vegan! You will actually be amazed by the number of traditional veggie Tuscan dishes to choose from.

Let’s take a look one by one. Let me stress one thing first though. The freshness of ingredients is always something that you should look for. Weddings are usually celebrated with hot weather so that also gives you plenty of great choices in terms of vegetables.

CANAPES

Tuscany offers a variety of them.

Canapés are normally a rich spread of different antipasti served in a buffet style.

In summer tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines are at their best so I personally suggest to include

Bruschettas with fresh tomatoes and basil or crostini, small type of bruschettas made with Tuscan unsalted bread – with sauté’ courgettes and aubergines. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Not many people know that courgettes also produce a flower. This is an edible flower and it is widely used in Tuscan summer recipes. A way of eating a courgette bloom is to fry it. This is a real Tuscan delicacy! Courgette blooms are only available in Summer.

If you eat cheese, Tuscan pecorino is another great ingredient for canapés. This can be served on its own or with mustards and honey dips. This is the way Italians like to savour their cheese.

Tomatoes seem to be king in summer so feel free to add this ingredient as much as you want besides bruschettas as you will not be disappointed by the end result. Panzanella as described above is a delicious salad where the taste of fresh tomatoes and basil really stands out. Even little things like Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cheese can make a great difference to canapés.

FIRST COURSES

Well, this is pasta time! Ravioli with fresh ripe tomatoes dressed with the most aromatic Tuscan olive oil or a succulent risotto with Vernaccia wine ( an exquisite type of white wine only produced in the area of San Gimignano ).

If you don’t eat cheese do not worry, you could find your place in heaven with Pici all’aglione.

Pici is a Tuscan type of pasta from Siena. It is a very thick type of spaghetti and it is traditionally eaten with rich tomatoes and garlic sauce.

Home-made pesto or seasonal vegetable ragout are excellent sauces as well.

Pasta or risotto with courgette blooms are also amazing and purely Tuscan!

If you like the thought of having soup you could go for Ribollita a traditional recipe from Florence made with several types of vegetable, beans and served with grilled bread. The author particularly loves this dish and highly recommends it in any season (it is a winter soup really but so delicious that you won’t disagree with me! ).

MAIN COURSE

You can substitute the classic Florentine steak with a very luscious dish of “Melanzane alla parmigiana”. I will describe it but please do not hold me responsible if your mouth starts watering This is made of baked layers of aubergine filled with fresh tomatoes sauce, basil and mozzarella cheese, dressed with the purest and most scented olive oil, what we call “extra virgin”.

Or you can choose from different types of Vegetable soufflés, baked stuffed vegetable with various filling the traditional one being bread crumbles and parsley with olive oil and so on. Being summer the selection of vegetables available is very wide.

As for side orders, you can try roast potatoes with olive oil and rosemary (a very Tuscan aroma!), Tuscan style stewed vegetables or glazed onions made with a special type of onion grown in the Certaldo area near Florence.

Last but not least is the wedding cake!

Well, here the Millefoglie is the Queen of all cakes. Heavenly layers of fragrant puff pastry filled with fresh vanilla cream and covered with cream and decorated with juicy strawberries. For a vegan delicious mono portion of Tuscan rice pudding made with soya milk.

The wedding cake is served with coffee. Before you ask yes, Espresso, What else?? And digestive liqueurs such as limoncello, grappa etc..