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One week in Florence


Nishla
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I'm loving this great report, Nishla!

I noticed that you're really enjoying Pecorino Toscano. I love it, too, and whatever I've gotten here hasn't had the taste I remember from Siena, where I could get it in a little convenience store down the street, along with excellent quality fruit and good, cheap Chianti wine.

One question: How many people went on the trip with you?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Nishla:

Two more questions:

1.

Our tour guide suggested Giovanni's for lunch. This is around the corner from Il Latini, run by one of the Latini brothers.
I don't find Giovanni's in any guide altho Il Latini where I've eaten before, is in all. Is it new? Open in August? (that you know)

2. How many more days will you be posting for and will you give us your top-bottom choices at the end?

I'm loving this.

John

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Nishla:

Two more questions:

1.

Our tour guide suggested Giovanni's for lunch. This is around the corner from Il Latini, run by one of the Latini brothers.
I don't find Giovanni's in any guide altho Il Latini where I've eaten before, is in all. Is it new? Open in August? (that you know)

2. How many more days will you be posting for and will you give us your top-bottom choices at the end?

I'm loving this.

John

John, you'll find references in the thread you initiated:

I latini.. an experience.. crazy.. i prefer DA giovanni around the corner..

Giovanni Latini! brother that split off.. calmer more space.

Divina is right about L'Osteria di Giovanni -- we had our best dinner in Florence there, at the end of April.  You could email them to see if they'll be open in August. 

Nishla, thanks for the report, especially about O d' G which is unfamiliar! Sorry you missed the reference to a perfect spot next to Santa Croce (to the left of the basilica's incorporated belltower) in the guide to Florence above in this forum. Caveat emptor for next trip: those tour guides leading you to the "artisan's shops" all get commissions from the places they take you.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Nishla:

Two more questions:

1.

Our tour guide suggested Giovanni's for lunch. This is around the corner from Il Latini, run by one of the Latini brothers.
I don't find Giovanni's in any guide altho Il Latini where I've eaten before, is in all. Is it new? Open in August? (that you know)

2. How many more days will you be posting for and will you give us your top-bottom choices at the end?

I'm loving this.

John

John, you'll find references in the thread you initiated:

I latini.. an experience.. crazy.. i prefer DA giovanni around the corner..

Giovanni Latini! brother that split off.. calmer more space.

Divina is right about L'Osteria di Giovanni -- we had our best dinner in Florence there, at the end of April.  You could email them to see if they'll be open in August. 

Nishla, thanks for the report, especially about O d' G which is unfamiliar! Sorry you missed the reference to a perfect spot next to Santa Croce (to the left of the basilica's incorporated belltower) in the guide to Florence above in this forum. Caveat emptor for next trip: those tour guides leading you to the "artisan's shops" all get commissions from the places they take you.

Thanks for the info on Giovanni's. I had seen that note from Divina but couldn't remember where to find it.

Our tour guide was quite professional, I thought. While at the shops, we were not encouraged to buy anything at all. In fact, none of us bought anything during the tour. If she was getting commissions, I certainly couldn't tell.

John, I have ~3.5 more days of posts to put up...sorry it's taking so long! I have no idea which places would be open in August, but I think my favorite overall meal was at Cammillo. I'll try to rank the rest when I'm done :smile:

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I'm loving this great report, Nishla!

I noticed that you're really enjoying Pecorino Toscano. I love it, too, and whatever I've gotten here hasn't had the taste I remember from Siena, where I could get it in a little convenience store down the street, along with excellent quality fruit and good, cheap Chianti wine.

One question: How many people went on the trip with you?

Thanks for the comments. There were six of us on the trip total (I think I listed the whole crew in my first post). It's taking a while to get through all my photos because there were so many things ordered at each meal!

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Yikes...I've been terribly delinquent in updating here.

I figure now is a good point to discuss gelato. As I mentioned before, I had never had real Italian gelato. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods (in college, I'd eat it for dinner), and I was really looking forward to trying gelato. We didn't actually try that many places, because early on we stumbled upon a couple that we really liked.

First, Carrozze (which Divina recommends, but I didn't know that at the time).

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It's a nice little cafe right on the river by the Ponte Vecchio, and had the best pistachio I tried.

Then, Perche no!, which was recommended by one of our tour guides.

I didn't like the pistachio as much, but all the fruit flavors were amazing, as well as the coffee.

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We also tried Grom, which was fairly disappointing. The flavor was good (I had dark chocolate) but the texture was too close to gelato soup :angry:

As an aside, if you want recommendations in Florence, definitely visit Divina's website. We tried several of the places she listed, and they were all extremely good.

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Day 5, dinner

For dinner, we went to Trattoria del Pennello. Several locals stood in line ahead of us, and we had a relatively simple, yet tasty dinner.

By the way, I'm not posting all my photos from now on...I think I've shown you enough vegetable soup! :laugh: It was a bit strange to me that many restaurants served very similar items. There were definitely variations, but the cuisine was much more fixed than I'm used to in the US. At home, we don't stick to any particular cuisine, so it was unusual to eat the same kind of food for a whole week straight!

Started with prosciutto and finocchiona:

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Cheese ravioli with sage and butter:

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Egg and spinach noodles with bacon and cream sauce. This was really good.

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Lemon pasta, which managed to be light and rich at the same time.

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More tripe. Good, but not as spectacular as Cammillo's.

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We had a few other dishes (bad photos) including veal cutlets, lamb (very very yummy), and a whole roasted fish.

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Thanks for all the information Nishla!! We are leaving tomorrow for Europe and we will be in Florence July 8 - 13. Your report has been very helpful!! I've been compiling a list of restaurants for weeks now and I certainly want to try several you mentioned!! Your pictures are wonderful too!! :smile:

Lori

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Thanks for all the information Nishla!!  We are leaving tomorrow for Europe and we will be in Florence July 8 - 13.  Your report has been very helpful!!  I've been compiling a list of restaurants for weeks now and I certainly want to try several you mentioned!!  Your pictures are wonderful too!! :smile:

I agree, keep it up Nishla, I'm coming down in just a few weeks and really appreciate your research.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Day 6

On Day 6 of our trip, I woke up to chills, fever, cough, blocked sinuses, the works. Awesome. While I stayed in bed all day drugged up on cold medicine, the rest of the crew went out to Lucca.

Photos for the next couple meals are by Scott, and commentary is by Keith...

After briefly driving around the seaside, we stopped for lunch in Forte dei Marmi:

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The menu was seafood heavy, and quite different from the food in Florence. They had a lot of outdoor seating, and it was a very pleasant setting.

Mixed seafood plate:

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Sliced rare tuna with arugula and tomatoes...a bit of a surprise, because I thought it was a pasta dish (mistook tagliata for tagliatelle), but it was very good and fresh:

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Seafood risotto:

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Grilled calamari:

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Squash blossom pizza; delicious and beautiful:

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Wonderful stuff. Although you have reminded me that I can't get robiola in Oz :sad: .

Nice looking ( :wink: ) Ribollita, it is said that it should be thick enough to stand a spoon in.

The zucchini flower pizza is a really nice example of the prefered type of crust, almost like a cracker rather then bready.

One very anal thing - the spelt in the soup will not be spelt (Triticum spelta) even if translated as spelt. Farro in Tuscany will almost certainly be emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum) its production in Tuscany has a geographic identity protected by law. Production is certified by a co-operative body, the Consorzio Produttori Farro della Garfagnana. Such is the demand for the product that much of the non-certified farro sold is indeed spelt. I'm not sure why this annoys me so much.

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That squash blossom pizza looks incredible. Do you remember what else they put on the pizza besides the squash blossoms?

Steve, Keith says he thinks there was a garlic cream sauce.

Once again, sorry for the delayed responses...we've been moving and didn't have internet at the new place right away :sad:

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Day 6, cont.

I was still sick this evening, but the rest of the group went to Trattoria 4 Leoni for dinner. Keith says it was one of the best meals, and too bad I couldn't make it. Wah!

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Some of the more interesting dishes:

Ravioli with boar ragu:

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Fiocchi with mushrooms and cream sauce:

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Baccala with sliced potatoes. Keith says this was amazing.

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Day 7

Thankfully, I woke up feeling somewhat better the next day after copious amounts of cold medicine. The meat-eaters among us had plans for lunch at Sostanza, a tiny non-descript restaurant known for steak.

Steak Florentine (ribeye):

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Filet:

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I thought the steaks were extremely good, but I still liked the one at Cammillo better (more char and grill flavor).

Side of green beans. These were served cold, with lemon and lots of olive oil, and very yummy.

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Tortellini with ragu. Pretty tasty.

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Finally, wild berries with cream and sugar. This was one of the best things I ate the entire trip. I will compare every strawberry I eat from now on to these.

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Day 6, cont.

Fiocchi with mushrooms and cream sauce:

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This photograph inspired me, Nishla. The price on chanterelles was reduced at the farmer's market this weekend, so I tossed some zucchini blossoms in.

Delicious and pretty. Would be perfect over ricotta gnocchi flecked w basil (vs. gnudi's spinach).

I have to say, though, that the flowers served purely an aesthetic purpose as far as I'm concerned. Maybe textural contrast, too.

I've just borrowed one of Rick Bayless's cookbooks from the library and will try to see if I can change my mind about integrating this summertime delicacy into recipes. Thus far, I have to say, the ones I've had here or in Italy never have had enough flavor for me to appreciate them when they're not coated in a light batter and fried, as is or stuffed. I felt the same way about their inclusion in a risotto in a favorite place in Piazza Santo Spirito even when the fresh, light taste of mozzarella was the only competing factor in the dish.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Oh. My. Goodness.

What a wonderful report, Nishla. If my mother ever gets it together, we are using this as a guide to Florence and the surrounding area. I Latini looks amazing...and those berries are seductive.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Day 6, cont.

I was still sick this evening, but the rest of the group went to Trattoria 4 Leoni for dinner.  Keith says it was one of the best meals, and too bad I couldn't make it.  Wah!

oohhh! we had a fantastic dinner at 4 Leoni also! It took us 2 nights to get in- they are very popular for good reason!

I am also inspired to make the squash blossom pizza! I love them and that looks amazing!

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That sounds incredible!

Great job with this report!

That squash blossom pizza looks incredible. Do you remember what else they put on the pizza besides the squash blossoms?

Steve, Keith says he thinks there was a garlic cream sauce.

Once again, sorry for the delayed responses...we've been moving and didn't have internet at the new place right away :sad:

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Day 6, cont.

Fiocchi with mushrooms and cream sauce:

gallery_45959_4758_26086.jpg

This photograph inspired me, Nishla. The price on chanterelles was reduced at the farmer's market this weekend, so I tossed some zucchini blossoms in.

Delicious and pretty. Would be perfect over ricotta gnocchi flecked w basil (vs. gnudi's spinach).

I have to say, though, that the flowers served purely an aesthetic purpose as far as I'm concerned. Maybe textural contrast, too.

I've just borrowed one of Rick Bayless's cookbooks from the library and will try to see if I can change my mind about integrating this summertime delicacy into recipes. Thus far, I have to say, the ones I've had here or in Italy never have had enough flavor for me to appreciate them when they're not coated in a light batter and fried, as is or stuffed. I felt the same way about their inclusion in a risotto in a favorite place in Piazza Santo Spirito even when the fresh, light taste of mozzarella was the only competing factor in the dish.

In my next life, I'm going to write a zucchini blossom cookbook. I've had more blossoms than a florist on Mother's Day!!

Risotto....add the blossoms into the risotto at the last moment...diving.

Fried like chips and seasoned with smoked chili powder

Stuffed with a little bit of mozzarella, or anchovie

And that was just last week.

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Hathor, if you write a cookbook I'd definitely buy it! That all sounds so good.

Day 7, con't

For dinner, we went to Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco.

Keith got wild boar with polenta...really good. I wouldn't mind having more wild boar in my diet.

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I forget the name of these, but they were spinach and ricotta dumplings in a butter sauce. They were much lighter in texture than I expected.

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More truffles :smile:

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Pasta with wild boar

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After a lot of meat all week and steak for lunch, I couldn't keep up anymore. I got eggplant :raz:

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Day 8

This was our last full day in Italy, and we took a day trip out to the Chianti wine region. On our way, we stopped in at a small place making vinegar and olive oil.

Barrels of vinegar...as the vinegar ages it gets transferred to smaller and smaller barrels.

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Trees loaded with figs and plums outside.

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We then drove over to Casa Emma, where we got a quick tour of the winery and had an amazing lunch.

The vineyard:

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Some of their wines:

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Barrels of wine:

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After the tour, they brought us to a nice covered patio for lunch. It was a perfect day to be outside.

The table:

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First course: a light tomato pesto, served with their Chianti Classico

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Then, an absolute parade of food came out...

Baked tomatoes with basil and breadcrumbs:

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Beans, which were delicious

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Bruschetta

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Some kind of cold cut (turkey maybe) with vin cotto

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Eggplant with garlic and parsley...mmmmmm

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Roasted peppers:

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Prosciutto and figs:

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All on the plate:

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They let us try a few vintages of their Riserva

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Biscotti

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Not pictured was the vin santo and cheese plates :shock:

Finally, some grappa

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This may have been my favorite experience of the whole trip...just having a wonderful leisurely lunch in the countryside.

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the spinach and ricotta gnocchi are called ravioli gnudi, naked ravioli, one of my favorite.

the recipe is on my site.

Gnudi or strozzapreti

a classic!

PS the fagottini at quattro leone are pecorino cheese and pear filled!

another Great recipe

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