Italian food is well known all around the world, but you have to know that every city has its own traditional recipes. Florence has a lot of interesting food that, starting from the antipasto till the dessert, fits with every stomach. Here's some local tips to help you when ordering from a Florentine menu.
We heart starters! Sometimes the quantity of food prepared as appetizer is way too much, because we have a wide range of finger food and snacks which are all delicious! If you want to eat something typical as a starter, we suggest you to try Coccoli, Crostino ai fegatini, Fettunta, cold cuts and pecorino cheese. Coccoli are very simple to prepare: they are small balls of dough fried in olive oil, traditionally stuffed with prosciutto ham and a creamy fresh cheese called stracchino. You can also find these with sweet fillings and served as a dessert, but the salty way is the most chosen one. Crostino ai fegatini has a strong taste, because the main ingredient is liver. Mixed with onion cooked with wine and spices, the liver is put on a slice of bread and served like a small bruschetta.
Talking about Fettunta, a small paragraph was dedicated to this traditional snack some time ago in one of our articles. We all know that Tuscany is one of the best EVO oil producers in Italy, and Fettunta is the best way to taste it without altering its flavor. Fettunta is toasted bread with garlic and olive oil on top: so simple yet so delicious! Dealing with cold cuts, the most popular ones are finocchiona, soprassata and the salame toscano, normally served with Pecorino cheese (fresh or aged, they're all amazing).
If you tried all these starters you may feel full already. The menu is just at the beginning, though. Let’s now talk about the main courses: the first one you have to try is Ribollita. It’s a famous Tuscan soup made with bread and vegetables. There are many variations but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans, kale, cabbage, and other vegetables such as carrots, beans, chard, celery, potatoes and onion. This vegetarian dish has very ancient origins and it’s eaten especially in winter time. Another veggie choice can be Pappa al Pomodoro, made with stale bread, basil and tomato sauce. This is more a summer option, since it’s usually served cold or at room temperature.
If you’re in a hurry and want to eat something quick, we suggest you to try panino al lampredotto! Made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow, the abomasum, this dish is quite filling and very popular among locals.
Main course is gone, let’s now focus on the second one! For those of you who have a strong stomach, a very traditional dish is Trippa alla fiorentina. Either you love it or hate it: you can’t feel indifference towards it. It may not be the most appealing thing to eat - trippa comes from one of cow’s stomachs - but we are pretty sure you’ll like the Florentine one! Made with tomatoes and other vegetables, this meal has humble origins but it’s incredibly tasty.
There’s another dish you can’t really miss: Bistecca alla fiorentina. This may be the most popular Tuscan dish, and it’s not just a simple steak. Beef should be Chianina, and the way to prepare it is very important: it should be cooked at room temperature and never from the fridge. The steak should be cooked at high temperature for 3-4 minutes each side (just one turn). A shower of salt before serving it and Fiorentina is ready! Hot outside but not too warm inside, this steak can weight between 800 gr and 1.2 kg!
Here’s the sweet part. Italians love desserts: whatever you’ll eat during your meal there will always be space for a cake or pastry! Talking about Tuscany, the most famous ones are Cantucci, whose origin is Prato, a city next to Florence, and Schiacciata Fiorentina. Cantucci are biscuits that should be eaten together with Vin Santo, a sweet wine. It’s kind of important to serve them together, because Cantucci are hard to eat and the wine helps to soften them a little bit.
Schiacciata fiorentina is typical of Carnival and it’s a rectangular cake with the symbol of Florence on top. Nowadays you can find it filled with different creams but the original recipe doesn’t have any. Oranges and vanilla are the main flavors, but despite looking delicate and elegant this cake is made with lard. Carnival time is indeed the period when the pig is traditionally slaughtered, which means there’s a lot of lard and its price is lower.
What about tasting some Chianti wine with all this goodness? Have a look at our website, we have a Chianti Tour with two wine and typical food tastings waiting for you!