When travelling to Florence, most worldwide travellers are mainly looking forward to one activity: eating Italian food and discover the top authentic and traditional foods. Italian food is known worldwide for its simple but beautiful flavours; Italian restaurants can be found everywhere, but only in the bel paese will you be able to try authentic flavours since ingredients are locally sourced.
In Florence, cuisine comes from the Medici (Florence’s dynasty in the Renaissance) tradition and is very simple, mostly based on meat and bread. Here are some of the most well-known recipes and the top authentic and traditional foods you should try during your stay in Florence.
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The ‘Tuscan entry’ is a platter of cheese and cured meats, usually pecorino cheese and raw ham, finocchiona or sbriciolona (raw ham with fennel) and salami. The platter usually comes with a few lettuce leaves, Tuscan bread (saltless bread) or coccoli (literally ‘cuddles’- fried bread) and spreads such as fegatini (liver spread – as strange as it sounds it’s the best!) to make crostini, that is toast or crouton.
Ribollita is a wintery, hearty stew made with stale bread, black cabbage beans and potatoes. The term ribollita means bubbled more than once and it refers to its long cooking time.
This is one of the most well-known dishes of the Florentine tradition; not only do locals go out to have it but they also frequently cook at home. This is perhaps the only vegan dish of the Tuscan tradition.
Bistecca alla fiorentina
Bistecca alla fiorentina is a delicious steer stake cooked perfectly rare (al sangue). So you might want to avoid telling your waiter that it’s undercooked, as that’s the goal of the dish. As strange as that might sound to non-Mediterranean, bloody meat does taste amazing!
The bistecca usually comes in a big size with a side dish such as potatoes or vegetables, so you can skip starters and the first dish. It’s usually quite costly considering it’s usually 4 or 5€ per 100 grams, therefore 40-60€ per dish as a Florentine steak normally weighs at least 1 kilogram.
Trippa alla fiorentina & Lampredotto
Trippa and lampredotto are organ meat or offal. Trippa is tripe, cow’s stomach cooked with tomatoes, onions, parsley and celery until it has the texture of tender roast beef, while Lampredotto is the thinner part of the cow’s stomach and it’s cooked in the same way.
Both are served in a bun with broth or green sauce and are perfect for a quick lunch or if you’re on a low budget. If you’re picky with food, these might not be the best options for you as ‘panino col lampredotto’ (lampredotto sandwich) is considered quite a rough food, even though most find it delicious! You can eat trippa and lampredotto at any ‘lampredottaio’ or ‘trippaio’ stand in the city centre.
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Schiacciata alla fiorentina
For those with a sweet tooth, Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is the perfect snack to bring around on a walk around Florence. This is a simple flatbread made with flour, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla and orange and sprinkled with cocoa to mark the Florentine symbol of the lily. You can try a slice at any bakery or find it at the supermarket.
From the fertile Tuscan hills, red Chianti wine is produced with Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It comes in several varieties, including Chianti (a mix of Sangiovese and French grapes), Chianti Classico (the purest one with 100% Sangiovese grapes) and Riserva (a full-bodied, long-aged wine). For an authentic experience and learning more about the wine making process, you can go wine tasting at a local winery in the Chianti countryside or to a wine bar in Florence. Look out for scams: souvenir shops might not always provide the best-quality wines.
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