Traditional dishes from Elba

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.

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Risotto with squid ink

How they make risotto with squid ink in Elba.

Elbano's "Penne in Barca"

The recipe for the world famous "Penne in Barca", invented by the Portoferraio chef Elbano Benassi.

Spaghetti with Spider-crab

The Elba recipe for spaghetti with Spider-crab (Granseola)

Pappardelle with mushrooms

The recipe for home made pappardelle with fresh mushrooms

Spaghetti with squid

Squid sauce is very tasty and perfect for any occasion and is made with fresh and delicious ingredients.

Stockfish Sburrita

The Rio version of stockfish sburrita, the best known and most tasty on the Island of Elba.


Recipe for “Guguglione”, a mixture of stewed peppers and aubergines and other vegetables, very popular in the past among miners and farmers.

Poacher's wild boar

The recipe for poacher's wild boar is very tasty and is known all over Italy as "Hunter's wild boar".

Elba style cacciucco

Cacciucco is a fish soup made with different types of what is considered today poor man's fish and shellfish.

Rio style Stockfish

Recipe for Stockfish, a delicious and very tasty traditional dish from Rio.

Fried anchovies

Recipe for fried anchovies, that are very tasty and easy to make

Stuffed sardines

One of the many dishes with sardines, a fish that was considered humble but that in actual fact is very tasty and is rich in nutritional values.

Elba style boiled octopus

Step by step recipe for boiled octopus, following the Elba recipe that requires no seasoning.

Stuffed squid

One of the many variations of the recipe for stuffed Squid

Castagnaccio and fritters

The recipe for Castagnaccio is typically from Elba, and by following the same recipe you can also make delicious fritters.

Schiaccia Briaca

Recipe for “Schiaccia Briaca”, the typical Elba cake made from aleatico wine and dried fruit.

Fig jam

Fig jam is easy to make, use figs when they are in season and you can enjoy it in the winter months.

Easter Schiaccia

One of the typical recipes from Elba, not very different to those for other parts of the region of Tuscany.

Chestnut pudding

Ingredients and method for making chestnut pudding

Sailor's Bread

Sailor's (or Fisherman's) Bread was given to sailors as a comforter, and the recipe is known in many Mediterranean countries.


Recipe for “Schiacciunta”, a sweet, biscuit type of cake from the Island of Elba that is usually made during the winter months.

Fig "imbollita"

Recipe for Fig "Imbollita", one of the Island of Elba's oldest and most traditional cakes.s


The recipe for the “Corollo” , a ring shaped cake that in the past was traditionally made for a special celebration.

Ceremito and sportella

The Ceremito (or cerimito) and the Sportella are typical cakes made traditionally at Easter in Rio Elba.