There is more to panini in Florence than l’Antico Vinaio. Places like Antico Vinaio are extremely famous thanks to a failproof recipe: thousands (13K+) of tripadvisor reviews mostly since they’ve been listed for ages, tasty albeit obnoxiously large panini and cheap wine all for under 5€. However rarely questioned is the quality of their ingredients. Like are those industrial factory produced cheeses and grocery-store quality meats? Aren’t you curious as to what’s in those sauces/globs?
I’m going to flat out and be honest- this post is a reaction to seeing l’Antico Vinaio on nearly every major publication’s list, usually written by writers who are just passing through probably gleaning clues from other articles without contacting local on-the-ground experts. While I’m not saying me or anyone is the ultimate authority, it’d be nice if visiting writers actually reached out to the people who live and breath the food scene every day in Florence, to make their pieces more authentic.
The panini at l’antico vinaio are good, even delicious, but not worth to me waiting up to an hour in line for. Italian panini, were meant to be simple and traditionally included few ingredients: primarily cheese and/or meat. It seems that they’ve become monstrous man vs. food feasts here! Not that I don’t enjoy a decadent massive panino, but again, I suggest folks to consume info (and food) with a discerning palate. I am suspicious of the ingredients in terms of what’s actually in there and truffle sauces with 99% artificial flavor and 1% truffle extract. My personal tastes goes towards more artisan style eateries, where ingredient quality is emphasized. Not always, I do enjoy junk food too! But I get a lot of questions “is Antico Vinaio really that good?”Yes- it is but in case you don’t want to wait in line for an hour, here are some alternatives. Continue Reading →
In my first post “Insider Tips for Eating in Florence” from the series “What Giulio Says”, I mentioned a rockin’ bakery/pastry shop Caffe Neri in the Castello area of Florence, well Sesto Fiorentino to be more precise. Admittedly, this bakery while fantastic, artisan and lead by one of the best bakers in the region (Simone Bellesi) is quite far for the average tourist. Even though I am a firm supporter of getting out of the historical center, that may not be a realistic goal for most people especially if they are only here for a few days. Continue Reading →
This blog is about eating and drinking well. Most of the content concerns food in Florence since I am obsessed with it. I get some of my food recommendations from just wandering around Florence. The other half is from talking to friends and locals. The beauty about people in Italy is that they all love to talk about food and their next meal even while they are eating. Continue Reading →
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. Continue Reading →