Curious Appetite

Florence

Eating through Italy, Pasta and San Francisco

You’re probably wondering why the title of this post is named as such. I’ll tell you! I snuck off to San Francisco and while perusing the events at Omnivore books, I discovered Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome would be speaking as part of her book tour in the US! What luck, right?

The new book she was presenting was Eating My Way Through Italy and it concentrates her 30 years of exploring Italian regional foods into neat chapters divided by the regions she has closest connection with, including dining advice, recipes and resources. For those of you who don’t know (which I highly doubt) Elizabeth Minchili is an American in Rome holding a varied background with Italy over her life including having put down roots with an Italian husband, children and a doggie. She is revered and a respected authoritative voice on Italian cooking and Roman cuisine, and has varied resources for eating around Italy with her apps and popular food blog. Her daughter Sophie is carrying the gastronome torch and leads culinary tours through the eternal city. Ciao, Sophie! Continue Reading

Meat Trends and Bistecca alla Fiorentina in Florence

photo by Tracy Russo taken on my gourmet market walk!

If Florence had to choose to be renowned for one thing food-wise, it would definitely be this thickly cut, grilled to a bloody char La Bistecca Fiorentina. Mention these 3 words to any Florentine or Florence transplant and assuredly a debate will ensue. There are many opinions on what is important for a steak, where to get the best steak in Florence and most of all, what breed of cattle la bistecca fiorentina should come from. But restaurants in Florence are evolving to cater to meat connoisseurs, offering more than just a mystery meat variety grilled in the Florentine manner.  Continue Reading

3 easy recipe ideas for artichokes

photo by Tracy Russo

In Italy artichokes are a big deal. They are beautiful, delicious and full of amazing health benefits and are extremely versatile culinarily-speaking.

Roman cuisine probably gets most of the diva attention for their thistles, and rightly so. They have plenty of culinary uses in Roman cuisine, the most famed being from the Roman Jewish repertoire, carciofi alla giudia (Jewish deep fried artichokes, traditionally served after Yom Kippur but eaten joyously by all when in season). If you are in Florence and love carciofi alla giudia, Club Culinario da Osvaldo in Santa Croce pays them due justice even if outside of Rome. Worth knowing is this artichoke currently experiencing some controversy as Israel’s chief Rabbinate declared the dish non-kosher. 

In Florence, artichokes may not have fascinating recipes steeped in deep cultural history like Rome’s, but they are nonetheless present and important to Florentine and Tuscan cuisine. They are commonly found in traditional trattorias quartered, battered and fried with a squeeze of lemon. At home they are made into sughetti (sauces) for pasta, carciofi ritti (upright artichokes doused in lemon, herbs, pancetta and garlic) and are cooked along with a variety of meat dishes, such as involtini (meat-rolls), arrosta in crosta (crusted roast meats), etc. Continue Reading

Becoming an Italian sommelier in Florence, artichokes and VinItaly

first drink/food pairing as a sommelier: Lambrusco di Sorbara with a crostino con mortadella at Enoteca Faccioli, Bologna

Hey guys! My blog has been excruciatingly quiet and is in need of some great food and drink. I hope you’ll forgive the lull!

I feel like the days slip through my fingers quicker than water and another month passes into my 30’s. Mostly good things are keeping me busy, like recently passing a final exam to quaify as an Italian sommelier. (!) Continue Reading

Where to Eat in Florence for Easter (Pasqua and Pasquetta)

sorry, bah babes. You’re what’s for lunch and dinner this weekend

(UPDATED MARCH 2018)

Unless you will be munching with your family or friend’s family this Sunday (Pasqua) and Monday (Pasquetta) in Florence, then you might find this post useful. If you happen to be going to someone’s home for Easter, don’t forget to pick up a chocolate egg- preferably from Vestri in Piazza Salvemini if at all possible. You can never have too much chocolate on Easter, right?

Not all restaurants in Florence are closed on Pasqua or Pasquetta, in fact some of them drum up really special menus for the occasion. And not all will have special Easter menus- which I note in my suggestions.

grilled lamb at Trattoria Cammillo (I love Cammillo)

Here are 10+ ideas for where to eat in Florence worth considering for your Easter Sunday and/or Monday meal. Plus links to dining outside Florence and food blogs to create some Italian Easter food at home.

Eater just published my top 10 picks for the best new restaurant openings from 2017– some of them are on this list but in case you’re looking for more ideas! For sure open from this list is Trattoria Moderna for Monday Pasquetta for dinner, Osteria dell’Enoteca for Easter, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria at Gucci Garden (open both Sunday and Monday- no special menu), Bottega Conviviale (Monday closed at lunch but open Lunch & Dinner on Easter, regular menu) and Ristorante Tehran for authentic Persian food in the center in case you’re craving international flavor as well as Ararat (Georgian and Armenian fare). Addresses and phone numbers in the Eater guide map linked!

Also- since Pasqua and Pasquetta fall on Sunday and Monday- try this guide I built for restaurants in Florence open Sunday and Monday– call to make sure they are open when reserving. The following are sure fire bets. Continue Reading

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