On my progressive dining crawl of Florence, guests frequently ask, “what’s the difference between a trattoria, ristorante and osteria?” Trattoria Cammillo is one of those places you just intuitively know it falls in a different category as an iconic Florentine keepsake. To answer your question however, Trattoria is where you eat home-cooked food, family-style service at blue-collar prices, Ristorante is white table cloth with higher quality food and service and usually better wine selection. Osteria used to be a place like a tavern where you’d just go to drink and have simple food, and historically where you could sleep too like an Inn, the original name for Osteria roots from Hostaria. Continue Reading →
I wonder if people coming to Florence or other destinations in Tuscany realize what Tuscan cuisine is and what it isn’t.
Tuscan cuisine is a complex yet simple beast. Frankly put, it is not just pizza and pasta. There are flatbread pizzas (schiacciata) and ancient recipes for some pastas (maccheroni alla cacciagione). But pizza is native to Naples and fresh pasta is home in the Emilia-Romagna.
If I had to sum up Tuscan cuisine, it would be the art of not wasting anything- down to the last stale bread crumb and 4th cow’s stomach, drizzled with local fresh olive oil. 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 →
Gnudi- the ‘gn pronounced like gnocchi’s, is a dish I absolutely adore to make. In Florence, I also work assisting cooking classes. Thanks to the patience of lovely mamma cooks, I learned a few recipes for peasant dishes like this: Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi. Continue Reading →
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