Lucca – a little more local food

Lucca has many fine restaurants, some of which I reviewed on my 2013 trip (post here). Hopefully most of what I wrote still rings true. Unfortunately my visit in 2020 coincided with the town being handed a code red Covid status, which meant that all the restaurants were shut and food was only available for delivery or collection. So this is just a brief post about pizza, wine and a couple of local bakery items I tried.

Pizzeria da Felice, 12 Via Buia,

Felice is the oldest and best pizzeria in Lucca.

They describe their pizza as ‘alla napoletana’ but to me it seems thinner, more like romana, but it’s delicious whatever you call it (A).

They have a few other interesting items on their menu.

This is Cecina, a tasty chickpea flour pancake (A). The nice lady gave me a slice to try while I was waiting for my pizza. I’ve eaten it before in Genoa (post here) and Buenos Aires (post here) where it is known as Farinata or Farina.

These are Necci, chestnut flour crepes made with ricotta cheese. An interesting, seasonal local product but not something I’d order every time (C).

They also sell Castagnaccio a kind of cake also made with chestnut flour (see below).

Just down the road is this small but excellent wine shop…

Enoteca Vanni, 7 Piazza del Salvatore,

The English-speaking owner sorted me out with a couple of good bottles of Sangiovese and Chianti but also recommended some Barolo Chinato, a digestif made with Chichona bark. I took bottles home to experiment using them as part of the vermouth ratio in my Negroni mix. Both were great but the owner said the blue label Cappellano brand is the better of the two.

Pasticceria Buccellato Taddeucci, 34 Piazza San Michele,

As I mentioned in a previous post, this is also a good place to try Buccellato, a traditional sweet loaf with sultanas and aniseed seeds, made in this bakery since 1881. It goes well with a coffee or a glass of sweet Vin Santo wine and you can buy it by the slice here.

The teacher I was working with got us a Torta Verde, a local sweet pie made with vegetables, to share on our break and also a sweeter almond-basted tart. I found them a little dry but enjoyable (B-).

I was less impressed by the Castagnaccio she got from another out of town bakery (C-) whose cake seemed very processed and with a very unequal distribution of pine nuts, but then again maybe chestnut products just aren’t my thing.

You’ll find these places on my map.

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