Contrary to what many people think, the origins of Elba cuisine are to be found in the world of farming and agriculture rather than that of the sea, and proof of this lies in the fact that there are still remains of past terracing to be seen practically everywhere on the hills of the island.
Although vine growing and wine making were once carried out more or less all over the island, the growing of pumpkins, fruit trees, corn, spelt and broad beans – or “baccelli” as they are called in Italian – was also very popular, and even today broad beans are planted at the beginning of spring to be then savoured with the typical “Baccellone” cheese, bread, and a glass of good wine.
On the western side of Elba, above all in Poggio and Marciana, is very rich in chestnut trees, and this explains the many traditions, customs and local recipes that are closely linked to this fruit.
Needless to say fishing too has always been very important: at the end of the nineteenth century for example, there were many tuna fishing nets – or “tonnare” as they are called in Italian – on the northern side of Elba, two of which you can still see in Enfola and in Bagno, and fishing still continues to be very popular even today.
Although the arrival of tourism has had a great influence on Elba and the needs of the locals, it has to be said that over the years many customs and traditions have been passed from generation to generation, and are still maintained today. This can be seen above all in the Elba cuisine, that despite modern trends has always managed to respect the plain and simple ingredients that are at the base of very tasty dishes.
Wine, products of the land like chestnuts, typical Mediterranean wild herbs, pulses and game, and products of the sea like fresh fish that is caught locally, are all at the heart of very tasty dishes that come from both land and sea recipes .
Here are some of the tastiest, traditional recipes from Elba, the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago whose territory is very rich both in experience and cuisine.