When traveling in Tuscany, don't shy away from the unknown on a restaurant menu. You may simply enjoy something you've never tasted before or discover a dish you'll want to re-create at home.
Focaccia - One of Tuscany’s most delicious breads that serves as an appetizer or for hearty sandwiches. In Florence, stop at our favourite ‘Cantinetta di Verrazzano’ (Via dei Tavolini, 12r) where they stuff or lather their focaccia with endless ingredients. Later make your own at home.
Crumble 20 g. of fresh yeast in 310 ml. warm water and add 1 T. of sugar.
In the meantime pour 400 g. of flour in a volcano shape and make a well in the center to hold the yeasty liquid, which you will add gradually along with 2 T. of olive oil and 1 t. of salt.
Mix to form a moist dough, which you knead for 2-3 min. until smooth and elastic; leave it to rise on an oiled tray for an hour or until twice its size.
Spread the dough over the surface of the tray as best you can, drizzle it with oil and let it rise again for ¾-1 hr.
Finally, press the dough firmly with your fingertips to form dents, drizzle with more oil, sprinkle it with coarse salt and place in a pre-heated 220˚C. oven and bake for 20 min. until golden.
Gobbo all'Aretina - A ‘Gobbo’ is a thistle, which as a member of the artichoke and cardoon family makes it fair game for cooking. Arezzo has a respected version, so go ahead and try something you probably won’t tackle at home.
Bringoli - This fresh pasta is like a thick home-made spaghetti and typically in the Anghiari / Arezzo area often served with olive oil and parmesan cheese or a ‘fake sausage’ (meatless) ragu, something even a Vegan would love.
La Fiorentina - If you look over at your neighbor’s table and see a hunk of beef as high as your fist that spills over the edge of the tray, chances are you are looking at the famous T-bone known as La Fiorentina, a steak from the white Chianina cattle. You’ll probably need a friend or two to tackle this one.
Crostata - You will see this dessert in restaurants or, if you’re lucky, on a housewife’s table, for it is an excellent showcase to pastry cream and fresh fruit or home-made marmalade. Be sure to compliment your hostess if she offers.