An example of this is the gurguglione, native to the eastern side of Elba Island and its mining tradition. It’s a vegetable stew similar to ratatouille and a child of the Moorish-Spanish culinary culture. The sburrita is of the same vein. It’s a cod soup with garlic, chilli, calamint and slices of homemade bread. Stoccafisso alla riese is another dish. Lengthy and difficult to prepare, it’s stockfish accompanied by salted anchovies, onion, tomatoes, basil, parsley, green peppers, black olives, pine nuts and capers. Further inland, you’ll find many dishes with chestnuts and mushrooms from Marciana, a municipality that thrives on the highest peaks of the island.
The sea offers plenty of amazing dishes, including boiled octopus, stuffed, fried or devilled squid, very tasty fried curled picarel and anchovies, the always good mixed fish fry, risotto with cuttlefish ink, spaghetti with ‘margherita’ or spider crabs, and the much sought-after Elba cacciucco, which differs from the Livorno seafood soup through its use of different fish species and its less spicy and aromatic flavour. Bonito, a local blue fish similar to tuna, also holds the title of the first product in the Tuscan Archipelago to receive Slow Food designation.
The local breads with anise seeds that are prepared for festivals have ancient origins. Cirimito and caccilebbora were both given as gifts for good luck and fertility. The imbollite are another ancient dish from Elba. They’re like little focaccias made with the fat figs that grow all over the island.