Tuscany IS Italy to some people, and there’s no argument that in food and wine – as in most other things – it’s a leading player. Many of its favourite ingredients and dishes are bywords of Italian food. Not unusually for Italy in general, these are characterised by the quality of the base/raw materials and (relative) simplicity of technique; white beans, oil, salt, smallgoods, tripe, bread, simple pastas, big steaks, game and the pre-eminent Pecorino cheese. Tuscany’s wines are perhaps thought of in four main groups; the Sangioveses based originals of the Chianti zone(s), the Nobile of Montepulciano (the town) and the Brunello (dialect for Sangiovese) of Montalcino. The ‘Super-Tuscans’ represented the need for change a few decades ago, and featured ‘new’ (French) varieties and new oak, but are more often now a term to cover many non Doc wines and are increasingly likely to be, or at least include, Sangiovese. Whites are led by the distinctive savoury white Vernaccia and the growing importance of southern immigrant Vermentino, along with the iconic semi-sweet Vin Santo.