The Trattoria is a sacred place to me. It is intended to represent the most intimate corners of Italian dining culture and the real deal in terms of eating out. This is what Italian food is. As a guide for food tours in Florence, I often get asked “whats the difference between a Trattoria, Osteria and Ristorante?” Continue Reading →
Where to Eat Traditional Tuscan Dishes
It’s been a gluttonous year in this tiny city- and I’ve only scratched the surface. Florence is a TINY city, but there are nearly 3,000 eateries! I want to stay within normal BMI and cholesterol parameters, here! I’ve done my best to eat at as many places as possible, to meet the chefs, to see what was worth the almighty buck and also what was worth our time. Continue Reading →
“Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken” is one of my favorite quotes from Fight Club. Just because a thousand people with unproven eno-gastronomic credibility reviewed an eatery on tripadvisor as the best pizza in Florence, does not make it the best pizzeria in Florence.
I’m not saying 3rd party sites like tripadvisor don’t have their place or worth- it just seems to have become gospel for some food hunting travelers. I find that the people worth trusting online 1st are bloggers who live, have lived and/or continue to spend time/visit that place (and stay in the good graces of the locals there) or those who actually know food either by writing about food, knowing cooks, having taken culinary tours or classes and who aren’t bad cooks themselves. Like pasta- how can someone really recommend the best pasta if they’ve never made it themselves or understand the standards behind al dente? Continue Reading →
It sounds a bit strange to say what’s in season in Florence since produce that comes into Florence comes from farms and gardens around Tuscany. I suspect that one market in Florence may differ from a market in the Maremma in southern Tuscany. And since I am here, for simplicity’s sake- we will stick to Florence.
Why is it useful to know what is in season in Florence? Well, if you are traveling in Florence this may help your dining decisions. I’m a huge fan of “when in Rome” and eating what is traditionally around.
Also- just a few notes. Continue Reading →
La Ribollita…this dish has been haunting me the last few months as I have been trying in every way to understand it. Before I get too wordy, let me explain what “ribollita” is for those who may not know.
Ri-Bollita literally means -re-boiled. You may see it on an English menu’ boasting “re-boiled bread soup.” It is almost impossible to translate this dish while making it sound appetizing to the foreign masses.
In Tuscany’s “la cucina povera” peasant cuisine, which I adore, is based on not leaving any scrap behind. Tuscan bread is made without salt, for a slew of historical legends (feuds between port towns, high salt taxes, etc) and as a result it goes stale quicker than salted bread. In order to not toss out unused bread, it was then re-purposed to many iconic dishes we eat today such as Panzanella. Continue Reading →