Curious Appetite

Florence

Pizza notizie: Giovanni Santarpia leaves Santarpia in Florence

Giovanni Santarpia and his pizza Photo credit: facebook

I know this comes off as reporter-y, and I usually don’t write or update restaurant gossip from Florence- but Giovanni Santarpia leaving the pizzeria branded after him is worth giving y’all a heads up about.

In sum, Giovanni Santarpia is no longer spinning at Santarpia. What’s this pizzeria, you ask? Santarpia is a critically lauded, 3rd wave kind of pizzeria in Florence’s Sant’Ambrogio district originally helmed by Giovanni Santarpia, a revered pizzaiolo from Naples. But 3rd wave doesn’t quite do Giovanni’s pies justice- I’d say gourmet Neapolitan but the pizzas really reflected Giovanni’s imagination and memory of taste. It’s hard to classify the pizzas served here- which is why the news of Giovanni leaving, will leave a hole in the identity and draw of Santarpia. The carb parties thrown here were distinctly Giovanni’s propriety and I’d be curious as to how those left will attempt to recreate them.  Continue Reading

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

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