produce   fresh local ingredients   organic - integrated - sustainable farming
Bed & Breakfast and holiday farm at the foot of the Apennine mountains north of Florence in Tuscany:
Villa Panzano - La Topaia - Sanvitale -
I nidi di Belforte - Attulaio - La Colombaia - Corzano
Made in Mugello
  In the Mugello area

Typical agricultural produce
The 'basket' of typical Mugello produce is both rich and varied, and at all times of the year it provides top quality ingredients that fuel a rich calendar of mouth watering culinary events. The most famous Mugello crop is the PGI chestnut (watch for the 'Marrone IGP'), celebrated as one of the finest chestnut varieties worldwide, but also honey, olive oil, truffles and mushrooms are widely appreciated for their quality and taste. Mugello also boasts some traditional dairy products, cured meats and vegetables, while the local soft fruit and wild berries become excellent jams and preserves.

marroni del mugello - toscanaPGI Mugello chestnuts
At Marradi and in most areas of Mugello, for many decades chestnut producers have been growing exclusively the Mugello Chestnut, bearing the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) in compliance to the EC 2081/92 Regulation which among other things forbids farmers to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The Mugello chesnuts differ from ordinary chestnuts not just for being larger in size, but especially for their shape and the quality of thir pulp. Superior varieties such as the Mugello PGI type also boast the added bonus of its shell containing only one large seed, so that the chaff is more easily and completely removed from the pulp. The PGI Mugello chestnut is marketed as fresh, cured, dried and shelled as well as ground into flour. The local cuisine has been developing over the centuries special recipes based on chestnuts, and many dishes that elsewhere are made of wheat flour or maize meal, in Mugello are made with chestnut flour instead.

arnia nella montagna dell'appennino toscanoTuscan honey
Honey was first made in Tuscany by the Etruscans, and the high quality standards attained over the centuries by Tuscan producers have encouraged them to apply for the EC PGI denomination. In Mugello, the first major honey production of the year is acacia honey, transparent in texture and delicate in taste, rich in fructose and therefore easily digestible by children and old people. The next variety to blossom are the chestnut trees, whose deeply scented and slightly bitter honey is the perfect match for soft and mature cheeses. Lime trees are the next in line, and their fragrant, tasty honey is rich in soothing properties. At the height of Summer our bees gather and process honeydew, which does not come from the flowers, but from the sap secretions of trees. Honeydew is dark and tastes of caramel; it is rich in minerals and iron, and highly prized by athletes for its reputed medicinal value. Late summer is the time for the classic multiflower honey, the result of all the different blossomings of the nectat yielding season, and much appreciated just for its mixed taste and beneficial properties.

Olio extra vergine di oliva, il forte colore verde che ne caratteristico della ToscanaExtra virgin olive oil
From 2006, the extra virgin olive oil produced in the hills surrounding Florence (including the Mugello area) can boast the 'Colline di Firenze' PDO seal as a further recognition of quality among the already much-prized Tuscan PGI Extra Virgin Olive Oils. The climate, soil and farming techniques all contribute to its distinctive features: acidity lower than 0,5%, fruity fragrance, slightly bitter taste and color turning from green to golden yellow over time. This olive oil is the perfect dressing for raw and cooked vegetables (especially if eaten hot), but also for the broths and bean soups that are the staple of Tuscan country cooking, for grilled fish and for barbecued meat.

The truffle micelyum develops in asymbiosis with some tree species like oak-trees, lime-trees, poplars and willow-trees, all of which thrive in Tuscany. The Mugello soil yields mostly white truffles, the much-prized 'Tuber magnatum pico' variety, typical of the Fall: by law it may be gathered only between September 10th and December 31st, and at this time of the year it stars in culinary events, fairs and even auctions where the most distinguished specimens fetch staggering figures. White truffles are suitable for grating on warm dishes that enhance its strong and penetratting odour. Mugello truffle gatherers belong to a trade association based at Borgo San Lorenzo.

funghi porcini raccolti in tarda estate nel mugelloMushrooms
The Tuscan climate, hot and dry in the Summer and showery in the the Fall and Spring months, together with the presence of extensive woods, gives Tuscany plentiful mushroom crops. The ancient chestnut forests and extensive plantations of saplings are the perfect habitat for the tasty 'porcino' (boletus edulis) that can be found from late Summer and throughout the Autumn, while the 'prugnolo' (...) is a delicate tasting spring mushroom and a favourite for delicious pasta sauces and canapé toppings. Unfortunately the geographical origin of mushrooms is particularly hard to trace, but Tuscan 'porcini' bear the Arsia regional seal of guaranteed origin.

formaggi toscaniSheep, cattle and dairy farming
The most common cattle breeds in Mugello are the 'frisona' (da latte) and 'limousine' (da carne), but there are also several farms rearing the much celebrated Tuscan 'chianina' breed.

Typical dairy produce includes cow milk raveggiolo, a soft cheese with a sweet-sourish taste and a typical milky fragrance. It is eaten very fresh, delivered from the dairy farms on the same day when it is produced or the following morning at the very latest. Raveggiolo can also be from sheepsmilk ('Raveggiolo di pecora toscano PAT'); other typical sheepsmilk cheese varieties are the 'Pecorino Toscano DOP' (made from 100% sheepsmilk) and 'Ricotta di pecora toscana PAT'.

patate bianche e gialle del mugello White and yellow potatoes

White and yellow Mugello potatoes are typical of the Upper Mugello valleys on the Tuscan Apennines and especially of the countryside around Firenzuola.

They boast an unmistakable taste and texture due both to the high grounds where they are grown (400-900 metres above sea level), both to the traditional farming methods.

The Mugello Potato is suitable for all cooking techniques: boiled, stewed, mashed or fried with sage leaves; it is also the main ingredient in some of the best loved Mugello dishes such as potato tortelli and potato gnocchi.

Mugello cereals and bread
Besides traditional crops – wheat, corn and dried chestnuts – new varieties such as spelt, chickpea and buckwheat are becoming increasingly popular. The farms of Mugello also grow barley, wheat, field beans and sunflower, following the traditional method of the rotation of crops.

Since the Middle Ages, grinding mills were very common in Mugello: they were generally quite small and with a single millstone that ground grains and chestnut for human consumption and also fodder (barley and oats) for the livestock. The number of water mills grew until the early 19th century: afterwards they began to close down as the new electricity-driven mills became the norm. There are only a few surviving water mills still running today, but their workings are still a charming sight. In the last few years a number of local farmers, millers and bakers have joined forces to organize a carefully monitored and certified process to make a fragrant Tuscan bread marketed with the 'Pane del Mugello' brand.

campo di grano nel mugelloOrganic and integrated fight farming
Most members of the Terre di Mugello network are supporters of organic and integrated farming. Organic produce is grown with the exclusive use of natural fertilizers and pesticides. The European seal for organic produce guarantees that products bearing it on their label undergo strict inspections and tests by authorized national organizations at all times of the farming, processing and marketing cycle.

'Integrated' farming aims to limit the use of chemicals while encouraging low-impact selective pesticides, and is run in compliance with the rules and regulations set by the Tuscan regional governing bodies based on European guidelines. The 'Agriqualità' seal of quality, showing a white butterfly on a blue, green and yellow background, was created by the Regione Toscana to identify and promote the produce of integrated fight agriculture, and it provides consumers with a guarantee of origin, genuineness and freshness