Looking for the most buttery bakeries in Florence?
Buttery may not be the accurate term since many Tuscan baked goods are made with either no butter (i.e. pane toscano, cantuccini biscotti, etc) with olive oil, shortening or plain old fashioned lard (strutto) or a combo of one of these with butter, but for all intents and purposes, these are the bakeries where you can get the holy trinity of fat carbs and sugar. Italians and Tuscans especially take great pride in baked goods, especially breads which have hundreds of years attached in every crumble and every morsel of that “buttery” simple carbohydrate bite.
It is possible to find yourself in a conundrum of where to find the best baked goods in Florence as albeit the tiny size, the city is brimming with bakery shops at every corner and in between. Save yourself the hassle with this little guide. I took it as my duty to taste and carb load for this reason precisely: to consult travelers to Florence on where to get the finest, most artisan, true to tradition baked good in the historical center.
Extremely Tuscan Baked Goods of note:
- (Photo Credits Pugi http://www.focacceria-pugi.it/)
La Schiacciata – literally meaning “squashed”, this flat bread, what you could consider the Tuscan focaccia, is what carb dreams are made of. It is the only bread with flavor you will find in Tuscany. Why? Most bread otherwise is made without salt or oil for historical reasons. La Schiacciata instead is a oily, salty, warm piece of heaven.
Schiacciata all’uva- “Squashed” bread made sweet with wine grapes. Made mostly during the wine harvest period.
Coccoli- Sounding like the word for “cuddles” in Italian (coccole), these little fritters are fried doughballs that heaven sent down for us gluttonous folk. Not only is this bread enjoyed as a fried food thus decadent on its own, traditionally it is stuffed with stracchino (a fresh, cream cheese) and Tuscan ham as a sort of local appetizer or snack. Perfect with young, fruity light Chianti wine. Who am I kidding: good with wine. Period.
Cantuccini- Meaning “little corners”, these are tiny biscotti made simply with flour, eggs, sugar and almonds. Very simple to make and deliciously paired (or rather dunked) with local dessert wine “Vin Santo.” Try it!
Fedora- A sponge cake with a thick layer of whipped cream and a thin layer of dark chocolate. There is usually orange essence in the extremely moist sponge cake.
Castagnaccio- a chestnut flatcake with raisins, pine nuts, olive oil, orange zest and rosemary. It’s a seasonal treat, too!
Torta di Semolino- This is a cake made with a a shortbread crust, a layer of semolino which is a sort of flour paste mixed with milk, sugar, eggs and sometimes dessert wine then topped with thick dark chocolate.
Budino di Riso- A rice pudding then filled into a short bread crust and baked, then topped with sugar
Sfoglia – A puff pastry “pocket” sometimes filled with cream custard, ricotta and pear OR ricotta, chocolate AND pear and if made right, the sugar and fat have a slight caramelized crisp at the ends of the pastry.
Plus more if you visit these top 5 plus a handful of others at the end of this detailed listicle!
- Focacceria Pugi- Have you ever heard that the best places to eat are where taxi drivers go? So, I asked a taxi driver where to get the best schiacciata and he said Pugi. It is a sort of chain but I have to agree, their schiacciata is pretty consistent and if a local approves, then so do I. The great part about Pugi is that if I am ever in a bind for a snack in the historical center, I can pop over to Piazza San Marco where there is a Pugi shop for a cheap, satisfying “squashed” slice of bread. Pugi has been a Florentine baking institution since 1925 Focacceria Pugi (Various Locations in Florence) Address: Piazza San Marco, 9 B, 50121 Firenze, Italy
- Panificio Chicco di Grano- Located in the front right corner (from main entrance) of the wonderful Sant’Ambrogio Market is a sort of bakery/tavola calda that specializes in pastas (both fresh to take home and already made to eat as a sort of quick lunch), baked breads/goods, fried snacks like polenta and desserts like cakes and pastries. It often gets overlooked because of its position in the market, but it is worth a visit. Mercato Sant’Ambrogio Florence, Italy
- Pasticceria Cosi– Located at the beginning of the boutique shoppers drag leading up to Piazza della Repubblica, is a delicious pastry stop with an extensive case of dangerously good baked sweets like tarts, cannoli, mini pies, Florentine cakes, croissants, “bomboloni” which are the equivalent of Italian doughnuts sometimes filled with chocolate or custard and more. They offer more wholesome options like pastries made with spelt or kamut flour. The coffee here is exact and strong. It is rare to find both pastry shop and coffee shop that is doing excellent on both fronts. I know it’s Italy but I have had some rubbish coffee and rubbery sfogliatelle! Although sfogliatelle (a shell shaped pastry with many leafy layers) is traditionally from Campania (the region of Naples), you can find some legitimate sfogliatelle also in Florence. Pasticceria Patrizio Cosi Address: Piazza Gaetano Salvemini, 15, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Phone:+39 055 248 0367
- Antico Forno Giglio- I can’t believe this missed my list by accident and really should be #1, this has been my neighborhood bakery for years now and its where Curious Appetite food tour guests on our morning market tours– but I love this forno for so many reasons: their schiacciata is thick, chewy and salty, their pizzette are addictive, they have little fat drenched croissant-like savories with cheese and ham inside which may as wellbe bite sized heart attacks, they always showcase seasonal Tuscan and Florentine specialties and it is a 3 generation family run operation and I love them so much I just had a mini heart burst. GO! Address: Via Gioberti 151R
- Pasticceria Nencioni- Love this family-owned bakery and coffee bar! In my opinion, they have some of the best budino di riso and sfogliatine in town. Their coffee is done rather well which is hard to find in Florence- i.e. good coffee and baked goods made on-site. They have small pastry bites and mignons in case you want to just have a light bite rather than a massive pastry. There is a little seating area in the back too in case you prefer not to take your coffee and pastry fast and furiously at the bar. Address: Via Pietra Piana, 24 Florence
In addition to these 5 but I don’t have all the time in the world to write descriptions for (and I trust you’ll trust me): All the baked breads and sweets at the bakery case of C.Bio in Sant’Ambrogio, Forno Pintucci in Santo Spirito, Le Botteghe de il Fornaio on Sant’Agostino, ‘Sforno by Il Santo Bevitore guys (but a little too hipster-y wanna be for me but their anglo cakes/bagels are acceptable, Forno Bruschi on Via dell’Ariento in San Lorenzo should really be in that top 5 listicle if only for their coccoli. Panificio Maddaloni di Maddaloni Gennaro on Via Gioberti while not Florentine, does specialties from Naples which in my opinion has better tasting bread since they use salt but also here you can find Neapolitan sweets and pizza squares/seasonal specialties like easter cakes/savory stuffed breads. While you made the trek over, hop over to Pasticceria Jolly Cafe on Piazza Leon Battista Alberti, 14 which I assure you might be Florence’s best old-school pastry case “off the beaten path” with dangerously decadent fatty pastry dough calzone-like pockets stuffed with mozz or prosciutto and fat/sugar laden puff pastry specialties. If you are like me and have a romantic fascination with the old school bars, also hit up Bar Dario on Capo del Mondo for the best schiacciate ripiene (stuffed flatbread sandos) and grandpa-style homemade gelato with all sorts of artificial colors/flavors but nonno made it so you’ll eat it.
In Florence? I’d love to help you carb-load at even more places on my food tours in Florence.
For more tips on Bakeries in Florence and other Carb Heavens, visit this post I did on Caffe Neri off of Ponte Vecchio (who has closed in centro BUT still Simone Bellesi has their bakery in the suburbs) and Where to get the Best Panini in Florence including my tried-and-true favorite Semel.
In your love for carbs,
More news! The Curious Appetite has been nominated Best Food Blog by Italy Magazine! Are you a fan? Please vote for The Curious Appetite here: http://www.italymagazine.com/blog-awards/2014?field_blog_category_tid=44499 Grazie Mille!
This post is apart of the monthly blogger event Italian Food and Wine Travel. Want to learn more about Tuscany? You can join us all day live on twitter Saturday February 7th at #ItalianFWT
Here are our featured articles this month on Tuscany:
Vino Travels – The clones and wines of sangiovese in Tuscany
Cooking Chat – Tuscan beef stew and wine pairing
Food Wine Click – In Tuscany, red wine pairs with fish
Curious Appetite – Tuscan baked goods and secret bakeries in Florence
Flavourful Tuscany – Tuscany: The cult of wines and the dining pleasure
Enofylz – A Taste of the Tuscany coast
Rockin Red Blog – Travel to Tuscany without leaving home with #ItalianFWT
Girls Gotta Drink – What is up with the Chianti Classico Black Rooster?
Italophilia – Castello di Poppiano
Orna O’Reilly – Five days on Elba