Moving from Tuscany to Miami came with shifts- many magnificent, but many compromising to the sacred Italian heritage, as well. Toscana Divino understood that in a modern world, it would need to fight to find the resources and team to make ‘fatto in casa,’ or the tradition of making everything in house, possible.
At home in Italy, the farm to table concept is less of a concept than it is a natural way of life. In an effort to preserve this element of Italian dining culture, the Tuscany restaurant remains committed to using only fresh, local, and homemade (when possible) ingredients.
Tuscan cuisine is based on the idea of cucina povera, which translate to poor cooking. The cooking concept generated from natural necessity, when the land provided simple meals in large quantities. Fancy spices and seasons are traded for fresh, high-quality ingredients that naturally bring out the flavors of each dish. Tuscany’s countryside and rolling hills provide ample amounts of the cook style’s simple ingredients, such as bread, roasted meats, beans, truffle, olive oil, and grapes.
Although Toscana Divino works to preserve many parts of its Italian culture as one of Miami’s most authentic Italian restaurants, the founders knew that embracing change would be just as incremental to the deliciousness of their cuisine.
The restaurant works with Miami’s local farming community to bring in fresh and organic ingredients. Local farmers made it possible for Toscana to plate traditional dishes with contemporary flavors and pairing twists.
In house, bakery-focaccia and grissini are made; butter is churned; vinegar is fermented and aged; meats are cured into prosciutto cotto; and pasta, porchetta and beef heart pastrami are all made fresh.
Toscana Divino is committed to supporting organic farming that uses no hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or GMOs, promoting the importance of future generations and the livelihood of agriculture. Animals are purchased whole and used entirely; ricotta cheese is made from unpasteurized, antibiotic and hormone-free cows’ milk. Key West limes distil limoncello, and Ironside herbs make the robust amaro. Salads, dessert, and cocktails are garnished only with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although measures taken to bring diners into the kitchen have become more intricate, Toscana Divino’s commitment to ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘fatto in casa’ bear a steadfast resemblance to Italy’s preservation of family through food.
As communities change and farming culture continues to evolve, it is important to ensure that systems and practices are put into place that protects our youngest and future generations. Taking pride in the environment, in the land, in nutrition quality and the importance of family mealtime are all ways that Toscana Divino brings Tuscany to Italy and embeds its Italian heritage in modern day Miami.
Come into Toscana Divino, one of the favorite Italian restaurants in Miami, for unique and unforgettable takes on authentic Tuscan cuisine.
Tuscany is divided administratively into the following provinces. The provincial divisions also reflect the culinary divisions:
Tuscany as a whole both borders on the sea, and has an extensive inland area, which has a different eating tradition from that of the coastal areas. Throughout Tuscany, olive groves and wild herbs are everywhere. Many of the best olive oils produced in Tuscany are reserved for use as a condiment at the table, rather than as an ingredient in cooking in the kitchen.
Tuscans like to boast that it was Caterina de’ Medici who taught the French how to eat — though sadly, the tales of all of the big-ticket items she is said to have introduced — broccoli, peas, forks, even white sauce — are food myths.
It’s often pointed that Tuscan cooking has its roots in “Cucina Povera” — peasant cooking. In truth, though, that can be said of most cuisines. It’s true, though, that Tuscan cooking is a simple one. There are no reductions, no fancy sauces, no elaborate creations, no heavy complicated seasoning.
Tuscan tradition tends not to combine onions and garlic in the same dish. Butter is mostly used as a condiment at the table, rather than in cooking.
Pasta plays a small role in the diet, but certainly not as big a role as it does in other parts of Italy. Tuscans, however, tend to eat more salads than other Italians, and a good deal of beans, particularly broad beans. The traditional Tuscan method of cooking beans was to put boiled beans in a glass flask with olive oil and garlic, then setting the flask overnight at the side of a gentle dying fire in the hearth so they’d be ready the next day.
Meats and fish tend to be grilled simply over fire. Vegetables are served raw, steamed or briefly sautéed. In Florence, people didn’t cook with tomatoes until the late 1600s. Their use until then in Florence was restricted to decorating tables.
Breads tend to be made without salt. Salt used to be very expensive because of a tax on it, so the money-wise Tuscans simply stopped using it. The downside about bread is that without the salt, it doesn’t stay fresh as long, so Tuscan breads are often only good the day of their baking.
Bread soups are made throughout the region.
If you’re trying to find a particular shop or restaurant in Florence, bear in mind that there are red and black addresses. Red are commercial premises; black is residential. 38/R means “38 rosso” (“rosso” meaning “red.”) Number sequence may not be continuous, as buildings have appeared and disappeared over the centuries.
“Fiaschetterie” are wine shops in Florence that sell sandwiches with a glass of wine (named after the straw-covered flasks, called “fiaschi” in Italian, that Tuscan wines used to be bottled in.)
Though most cuisines throughout Italy will use offal as a meat, even they blanch at the gusto with which Tuscans embrace tripe.
At the start of the 1900s, the poor would come to the areas of Florence where all the tripe was boiled, such as San Frediano neighborhood — not to buy the tripe, because they couldn’t afford that, but just to buy the broth.
The food was very short in Tuscany during the Second World War, particularly towards the end in Florence, the scene of a showdown between Allied and Axis powers. Tuscans learned to incorporate the potato more into their cooking than they had.
Then after the war, incredible inflation began.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that chicken could be considered again for meals other than celebrations, and beef began to appear again on tables. Truffles, game, mushrooms, and seafood reappeared in Florence after a long absence.
Tuscans flirted with nouvelle cuisine in the 1970s, but it never really found a home in Tuscany.
By Cooks Info
Tuscany is a Region which is rich in history and with very beautiful nature; it extends from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Apuan Alps, with more than 3,600,000 inhabitants distributed in 10 provinces: Florence (Capital of the Region), Arezzo, Siena, Grosseto, Massa Carrara, Livorno, Lucca, Pisa, Pistoia, and Prato.
The history of Tuscan cuisine has ancient origins, dating back to the Etruscan people and winding through the centuries to this present day. Its most important period was definitely the Renaissance, where chefs working at the noble courts were expected to prepare very elaborate dishes, which have subsequently influenced many other European countries’ cuisine, especially France.
However, Tuscan people still loved to create far less elaborate dishes. Ancient Tuscany has been inhabited by primeval colonies at first, then by Etruscans and, later on, by Romans, both lovers of wine and good food. Their food was simple but, in some way, already quite various for that time.
Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), spelt, barley and millet (used in soups), fruits, vegetables, wine and olive oil were indeed already cultivated, and sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle were already raised both for their milk and their meat. Even the game (especially wild boars, deers, and cranes) was often eaten by Etruscans, cooked on braziers.
During the colonization of the Roman Empire, the Tuscan cuisine, of Etruscan origin, did not undergo major changes, remaining substantially frugal. With the decline of the Empire, the arrival in Italy of the barbarian tribes and the consequent depopulation of the cities in favor of the countryside with the advent of Feudalism, good cuisine was just reserved to the richest and noble families, while the peasants and the workers had to survive, feeding themselves with vegetable soups and poor food.
Craving Italian food? Brickell Miami is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in South Florida. So, it’s no surprise that Toscana Divino: The Artisan Kitchen, an authentic Italian restaurant that serves both traditional Tuscan dishes as well as more modern offerings, is found here. Founded by Tommaso Morelato and Stefano Cavinato, Toscana Divino aims to serve the highest quality ingredients and educate their guests on traditional Tuscan dishes.
“Health, well-being, and happiness is the framework at Toscana Divino”—and it shows.
The Italian restaurant offers an elegant setting with indoor and outdoor seating. Their modern dishes go beyond traditional Tuscan offerings and explore Italy’s diverse cuisine. Their selection of wine is carefully curated and on display at the center of the restaurant. Over 75 percent of their vintage Italian wines come from the Tuscan region.
The Tuscan haven sets itself apart from the rest with their thoughtfully-selected, seasonal ingredients: in-house made pasta; flour made from heirloom grains; meat from natural livestock; and fish locally sourced. They fully embrace the “farm to table” concept, which has allowed them to achieve flavorful dishes that are fresh and authentic. They continually work with the local farming community to obtain fresh, organic ingredients. Their fresh, artisanal pasta and bread is a tradition that has been cooking in the kitchen for many years.
You cannot leave Toscana Divino without trying the burrata caprese, an exquisite salad made from local burrata, heirloom Florida tomatoes, and garden basil and the traditional risotto ai funghi made with acquerello rice, wild mushrooms, and black truffle. The carbonara di mare is a true Toscana Divino original, using three types of fish eggs and a tasty sea urchin sauce to complement the flavors. It’s a unique dish that showcases the expertise and creativity of their talented chefs. To feel as though you’re in Italy, pair your meal with a traditional Venetian Spritz.
Once a month, Toscana Divino offers a cooking class that teaches attendees how to make their own bread, pasta, and gelato. All proceeds of the artisan cooking class go to the No Kid Hungry foundation. Learn the essential techniques and basics of Tuscan cuisine, and surprise your family at home. This spring, make sure to visit Toscana Divino for brunch, lunch, and dinner. ML
By Miami Living
American Social Brickell’s new champagne & oyster happy hour takes place on Saturdays from 6-10 p.m. Guests will enjoy $1.50 oysters (Chef’s choice) and $5 champagne on the sparkling Miami River.
Where: American Social Brickell, 690 SW 1st Court, Miami.
For your weekly dose of opulence, kick off the weekend at The Forge and enjoy $50 bottles of Veuve Clicquot every Friday. If a bottle’s too much, enjoy by-the-glass for $10. Veuve Clicquot Happy Hour runs weekly from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. and features complimentary hors d’oeuvres by Executive Chef Julia Doyne and music by Oui Savage.
Where: The Forge, 432 West 41st Street, Miami Beach.
Every Friday night, get your bubbly on Italian style at Toscana Divino, where you’ll find live DJ performances, $1 oysters, and Franciacorta Ca del Bosco for $10 per glass and $50 per bottle.
Where: Toscana Divino at Mary Brickell Village, 900 S Miami Avenue, Miami.
Every Monday from 5 – 7 p.m., learn about and enjoy different varietals of champagne, prosecco, cava, sekt and sparkling wine during Bubble Battles, a series of weekly tastings overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the Fontainbleau’s La Côte restaurant. The tasting class is $25 per person.
Where: La Côte at the Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
Looking to sip by the water? Lique Miami offers champagne aplenty in its romantic bayfront courtyard during brunch from noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. If you’re coming with friends, indulge in their fishbowl-size Pink Sangria, made with Miraval Rose, wine, peach liquor, fresh raspberries, agave nectar and peaches topped with rose sparkling wine ($65). Or, enjoy Veuve Cliquot to your heart’s content, reduced from its usual $135/bottle to $100/bottle when you purchase five or more.
Where: Lique, 3945 NE 163 Street, Miami Beach.