What to eat in and around Livorno

What are the dishes that you absolutely should not miss during your holiday on the Tuscan coast? 

If you have already tried the specialities of the hinterland, such as Tuscan crostini, Florentine steak and panzanella, it is time to try the delicacies of the coast. 

So fish of the day and seafood dishes? Of course, but there is much more.  

The must-eats of Livorno include some typical recipes based on fish such as Baccalà and Cacciucco (not to be missed), but also sweet and savoury delicacies. 

Take a look at the best recipes of the Etruscan Coast and start preparing your customised menu!  

Seafood specialties: to begin with

Let's start with maritime tradition. After all, if you decide to take a beach holiday, you are also probably planning to enjoy some delicious grilled fish. So here are some tips.  

The typical catch of the Tuscan Archipelago is quite varied, defined as "poor" but actually very tasty. If the waiter asks you which type of fish you prefer, don't hesitate: choose the bonito

Suvereto tradition says it should be in oil, with pepper, laurel and chilli pepper, but it lends itself well to many other baked, stewed or fried dishes. 

To get a taste of the local atmosphere in addition to good food, go to the Mercato delle Vettovaglie in Livorno. Here there is certainly no lack of fresh fish (it is just a stone's throw from the port), experienced restaurateurs and authentic products. 

Let's move on to two other recipes you simply must try. The Baccalà alla livornese and the Cacciucco: taste both and then decide on your favourite.  

Savoury and succulent although relatively simple, the baccalà recipe has its origins in the Tuscan homes like so many of the best Tuscan dishes. The secret is to cook a good tomato sauce, very slowly so that it is well seasoned and then put in the floured and fried cod. 

And now, Cacciuccoking of Livorno cuisine. It is fish, mollusc and shellfish soup. After a long day of work, they would go back home, put the leftovers of unsold fish in a pot and talk about their day while waiting for it to cook. The authentic recipe includes 13 species of fish, including octopus and moray eel, but in reality the catch of the day is used with attention paid to the different cooking times. And finally? Toasted bread rubbed with plenty of garlic and buon appetito!  

Not just fish: from savoury dishes to chasers 

For a typical Tuscan street food, go for cecina. There is no recipe that is as simple and delicious at the same time, crunchy outside and soft inside. It all started, apparently, from a storm at sea, which caused the chickpea flour and salt water to mix accidentally. In order not to lose the precious provisions, the sailors left the mixture to dry in the sun. And that's the cecina. 

It is also called 5 and 5, from the cost of the torta (the Livornese name for cecina) and the bread in which it is wrapped: 5 lire of bread and 5 lire of cecina, plus some aubergines in oil to make everything lighter.   

Finally, the dessert! The Schiaccia Briaca dell’Elba. The name could be deceiving but it is really a sweet, dry, fruity and drunk, or soaked in Alchermes. Some of its ingredients, such as raisins and pine nuts, seem to be evidence of the Middle Eastern influence of the Saracens. 

Try it with a small glass of Vin Santo.  

It is right that the menu should end with a chaser, to digest the Tuscan delicacies. 

Taste the Livornese Ponce, another legendary recipe. 

Once again, the strength of the sea has played its part, causing a ship to badly on the coast and thus the rum and coffee, both on board, to mix. Initially sold off because of the accident, the drink was soon appreciated and still today it is served hot, with a teaspoon of sugar and lemon peel, which was originally added to disinfect the glass. 

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