You haven’t had espresso until you’ve had espresso in Italy!
(Photo By: The Culinary Geek)
Florence for Foodies
We’ve talked a lot about all of the amazing art and architecture there is to see in Florence in some of my recent posts. Now, let’s talk about the best reason of all to visit Florence: the FOOD! Italian food goes way beyond pizza, and Florence is an amazing city for us foodies. As its artwork suggests, Florence is a city of tradition, and Florence food is crafted from the finest recipes handed down generation after generation. Food in Florence is a family tradition, and many restaurants are family owned and operated for generations. We’ve seen the art and we’ve marveled at the architecture. Now… let’s eat!
To Start Your Day…
We can’t start our day without a cup of Joe, or in Italy, an espresso. Italians invented espresso and you cannot truly understand this marvel of caffeinated wonder unless you’ve had authentic Italian espresso. As you stagger out of your hotel room, groggy from too much wine the night before, head on over to the locals’ coffeehouse – no, not Star… you know what! Stop in at Chiaroscuro on Via del Corso and ask for Massimo, the café’s owner. Massimo will not only teach you about the different ways to roast espresso beans, Arabica or Robusta, he’ll also give you a taste of each roast so you can decide for yourself which one you prefer. Massimo’s lesson doesn’t end at espresso, however; he will also educate you in the subtleties of coffee and milk by handing over a freshly prepared cappuccino. Once you’ve enjoyed this creamy treat, you should be adequately caffeinated to continue checking Florence’s food fare.
How About Some Lunch… and Wine!
Much like espresso, truffles are an Italian – and French, admittedly – treat. When in Florence, you must savor the tasty truffles offered by truffle experts Procacci Company. When I say the Procacci Company is full of truffle experts, I mean it! These guys have been around since 1885, and their business has always been all about truffles. They sell everything truffle at their exclusive Via de Tornabuoni shop and you simply have to enjoy a truffle sandwich made by these aficionados. Aside from truffle sandwiches, which truly are a unique treat, Procacci Company offers a prime selection of Antinori wines, from the Italian family’s estates in Florence and abroad, and truffle-infused olive oils and butters. Procacci Company is heaven on a… truffle!
Speaking of wine, let’s go get some wine and cheese at La Divina Enoteca. La Divina Enoteca is located on Via Panicale, and it has Tuscan fare sure to tickle any palette. Wine and cheese pairings are this Italian café’s specialty, but you will also be blown away by its selection of beers, sandwiches, and salads. There are also hot chocolate and non-alcoholic beverages for your little ones. When tasting at La Divina Enoteca you must keep an open mind. The pairings might seem odd to you, but trust me and place your trust in this family owned business since 1895. You just might find that what sounds a little funky, like pecorino cheese topped with grappa and pear jam washed down with a refreshing sip of white wine, is actually a tasting experience you’ll adore. La Divina Enoteca are experts at wine and cheese, so give in to the temptation and indulge in some vino and formaggio!
Time for a Snack!
One truly unique thing about Italy is the shopping. You won’t find any jumbo mega-marts in Florence, and with good reason! The Italian marketplaces are amazing unto themselves, so when in Rome, or in this case Florence, do as the Florentine’s do, and market at Florence’s central market. Here you will find fresh fare hot off the local farms – no frozen, processed food here! And, the central market doesn’t expect you to buy blind. Nope! Take your appetite with you because you’ll get to sample a ton of yummy goodies, including Italian breads, balsamic vinegar, cheeses, olive oil, and vin santo, a dessert wine to top off your market munchies. The Central Market is located on the Piazza del Mercato Centrale, and you won’t be at a loss for something eat!
I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for… Gelato!
Finally, what’s a Florence foodie binge without some Italian ice cream, or gelato as the Italian’s call it. Gelato is much like ice cream; sure, we can get some here in the U.S., but it’s just not the same as eating it fresh made from an Italian gelato maker. If you’re touring the Duomo – which you need to do – scoot on over to Via dei Servi and stop by Le Parigine. Once you step up to the gelateria’s 13-foot oak counter, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose which of the 16 gelato flavors to try. Since they are all made fresh daily, I say try ‘em all… or go back day after day until you’ve indulged yourself in all the gelato Le Parigine has to offer. Come on! You can diet when you get back from your trip!