Golossary: Baccelli

Bacelli fava bean with pecorino cheese typical Tuscan spring food
Fresh fava beans and pecorino cheese, a Tuscan tradition

Baccelli are a Spring time ritual in Toscana. In fact you won’t find them anywhere else. In Rome, where they are equally popular, and perhaps even better, they go by another more common name, “Fave.” They are the similar sounding Fava for the Americans, and Broad Beans for the Brits.

Tuscans buy crates of them, piling the pods in the center of the table and each taking turns shelling the fresh pale green beans from the pod and popping them into the mouth, raw. Alternate beans with cubes of young Pecorino cheese (See Marzolino). This is the taste of Spring in Tuscany.

(Note: Fresh raw favas can be a bit bitter; but they are at their best when tender and sweet. Other cooked, stewed or pureed dishes featuring fava beans can be found in other parts of Italy.)

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