Florence is well known around the world for its magnificent architecture and rich history. However, there’s another way in which the Tuscan capital excels, and that’s in its cuisine.
While on city breaks to Florence, you can sample an array of culinary treats, from light bites to hearty meals. Here are some must-try dishes when you’re in this part of Italy. Don’t get us wrong, we ate our way from north to south in Italy! With that said, Tuscan dishes are truly special.
It may not be one for vegetarians, but the bistecca Fiorentina, or Fiorentina steak, is one of the city’s favorite meals. This super-sized on-the-bone cut of beef is served charred on the outside and succulent and rare in the middle. Meanwhile, the cooking is performed on the grill, giving the meat a delicious, smoky taste. It’s often served alongside potatoes and a light salad, but you might not have any room for extras by the time you’ve chomped your way through this beast! YUM!
Another local delicacy is ribollita. This rustic stew was traditionally a peasants’ dish made from leftover vegetables and stale bread. However, modern versions of this satisfying creation are served up in all manner of eateries, from simple cafes to fine dining establishments. There is no set recipe, but all versions include a few staples, such as cannellini beans, cabbage and soaked bread. Other than this, you can find an array of ingredients, including the likes of onions, tomatoes and black kale.
A must taste in Tuscany is real prosciutto or cured ham. This delicacy is simply not to be missed. It is a perfect pairing for a picnic as you explore the hill towns of Tuscany. Buy the good stuff. The process to make genuine prosciutto is very labor intensive. It takes eighteen months to complete the entire process! After all the washing, salting, storing, and in some cases even smoking, what is created is nothing short of meat candy.
Of course, no Italian holiday would be complete with ice cream, and plenty of it. Gelato is a mainstay all around the country, and Tuscans are skilled in the art of creating it. This sugary, creamy dessert comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and most importantly flavors. Whether you fancy trying fresh fig, chocolate and hazelnut of the quintessentially Italian limoncello versions, you won’t struggle to find them. The nice thing about Florence, is gelato stands are on nearly every corner. And get this, most are actually really good. We recently wrote a primer on how to become a gelato snob! How to Become a Gelato Snob!
If you fancy something a little more grown up, try biscotti with vin santo. Also known as cantuccini, these crunchy, twice-baked cookies filled with almonds are the perfect way to top off a meal, and in Florence the tradition is to soak them in the sweet Tuscan dessert wine of vin santo. As the crumbs drop into the glass, they give this apricot colored drink a subtle taste of almond. (Not us! We just eat them strait out of the bakery bag!)
This is just a small selection of the edible delights on offer in this part of Tuscany. One thing’s for sure, you won’t return from your trip to Florence feeling hungry!
Tell us, what is your favorite Florence food?