What to eat when visiting Carrara marble quarries?
Where to taste local specialties in Carrara and surroundings?
Eating and drinking in Carrara, a mini-guide to get involved in the area from the food&wine as well as cultural, artistic and landscape point of view.
The best way to discover Italy is through its cuisine. In fact there the Italian cuisine does not exist, but we have a wide variety of regional and local cuisines that for centuries have developed independently. The locals used for cooking what the area offered: meat (a little), fish, vegetables, herbs, cooking them in different ways to create unique foods, characterized by strong and intense flavors.
Although Carrara is located near the sea it does not have a typical seafood cuisine, the traditional food of Carrara has its own specific identity, which comes from the hills and mountains that surround it, the local dishes match the peasant and quarrymen needs, mainly using land products, farmyard animals meat and to some salted fishes like anchovies, cod and stock fish).
The most famous food product of the Carrara area is undoubtedly the Lardo di Colonnata (pork’s cured back-fat), perhaps not everyone knows that Colonnata is one of the so-called “marble villages” located in the Carrara mountains. We have already told about this delicacy in 5 things to do in Carrara, it is such a unique cold cut that, thanks to a special and very ancient method of production, has become real gourmet food. It is served in thin slices as an appetizer, put on the pizza, on a bruschetta with tomatoes, to flavor first courses and other dishes, or stuffing a simple sandwich.
In the village of Colonnata you will find many eateries where experience some lard and have a snack with wines, vegetable tarts, cheese and other cold cuts, otherwise in the local restaurants you can taste a wider variety of traditional dishes.
The typical dishes were born for the working needs of the locals, with some influence coming from the surrounding territories for example from Liguria: stuffed veal, farinata, anchovies and potatoes.
Among the first courses we find pasta and beans, tordelli (pasta stuffed with meat and chard), lasagna with meat and vegetable sauce (lasagne stordellate); among the main courses we have the baked, fried or marinated cod-fish, the stockfish with potatoes, vegetable tarts and omelettes, lamb / chicken / rabbit fried with vegetables, tripe, chicken or rabbit Cacciatore with polenta, the stuffed rabbit, in in summer boiled or stuffed muscles are often found.
In the Carrara mountains there are huge chestnut groves where numerous porcini mushrooms grow, with chestnut flour the lasagne bastarde, the chestnut with ricotta, and the chestnut fritters are made.
In short, a simple and no-frills cuisine, rich in sea and land flavors that deserves a stop at a local tavern or restaurant.
The traditional dessert of Carrara is the rice cake: milk, eggs, and a little rice put in a pan and cooked in the oven. Easier said than done, the trick is to balance the ingredients properly in order to have a thick layer of cream on top and the rice underneath. We often find it in restaurant menus but also in some bakeries that continue making it according to tradition.
For a snack or a a quick lunch, do not miss trying the calda-calda (hot-hot) popular snack called farinata or in Tuscany called cecina, which was born in Genoa and is found along the entire Ligurian and Tuscan coast up to Livorno. The farinata, together with pizza and focaccia, is found in sliced pizzerias throughout the Carrara area. In the right season you will also find the chestnut cake.
Another type of street-food are the sgabei, practically it is the pizza dough cut into pieces and fried in hot oil in order to make it swell and fill with cold cuts and cheeses.
The local wines are full-bodied, fragrant and of good quality, they are produced both in the hills located north and south of Carrara which, well sunny and oriented towards the sea, offer the ideal soil for the production of excellent white and red wines. The two main areas are the Candia Hills DOC, an area that extends towards the heart of Tuscany, and the Luni Hill DOC area which occupies the first hills of Liguria towards the 5 Terre.
Here you will find the (certainly incomplete) list of restaurants, taverns and pizzerias where you can taste the local specialties if you are in the marble quarries or in the historic center of Carrara.
If you have forgotten to insert someone, or if you have found a place that I did not know and in your opinion deserves to be included in the list, email me.
So enjoy your meal and ARRIVEDERCI A CARRARA!
Carrara historical center
Osteria Geode, snacks and traditional cuisine.
Ristorante Hope, traditional cuisine.
Trattoria il Cavallo, traditional cuisine.
Osteria La Capinera, traditional cuisine.
Trattoria La Nerina, traditional cuisine.
Osteria Le Zie, traditional cuisine.
Ristorante Roma, traditional cuisine.
Enoteca Velia, snacks and traditional cuisine.
Ristorante Vittorino, traditional cuisine.
Pizza by the slice, farinata, focaccia.
Pizzeria Margherita di Seghieri e Colonnata.
Colonnata e surroundings
Ristorante Locanda apuana, traditional cuisine.
Ristorante Venanzio, traditional cuisine.
Ristorante Osteria nella Pià, traditional cuisine.
Trattoria Fantiscritti, snacks and traditional cuisine.
Osteria da Ometto, traditional cuisine.
Lardarium, snacks and panini.
Larderia il Poggio, snacks panini and lardo production.
Larderia La Stazione, snacks panini and lardo production.
Larderia Mafalda, snacks panini and lardo production.
Da Matti, snacks.
Da Mario, snacks.