Going Local in Florence!
If you’ve been following along on this and many of my other travel adventures, you know that I love going local; meeting local people, enjoying local food and wine and seeing the way the locals live.
Today, my last day in Florence, I did all of that with Walks of Italy on their Florence Food Tour–3-1/2 hours of sampling and sipping the best of Tuscany. Sound yummy? Mmmmm…let’s begin, shall we?
Our meeting place is in Piazza Santa Croce in front of the statue of Dante. Our group will be led by Ismael who begins by sharing and informative history and overview of the Church of Santa Croce and the district (also St. Croce) that we are in. The church is famous for the many illustrious Italians who are entombed here, including Michelangelo and Galileo.
Church of Santa Croce
Sharing about sites of interest along the way
Our guide, Ismael, shares about the history of the church and district of Santa Croce
, we find our way to our first stop, a local enoteca
(wine bar) and we meet the owner, Chaco.
our first stop, a good sign! Wine bar…
Excellent wines are available right from the tanks.
Today we will sample reds from Montepulciano and Montalcino, and a Chianti
Chaco only offers biologically organic wines.
paired with four crostni
with olive oil,
and spreads of zucchini, mushroom, and frigatelli
(chicken livers, capers, anchovies & a few other ingredients).
We enjoyed each delicious tasting of wine and crostini while Ismael shared about their origins and background. And, of course, we finished with the classic vin santo con cantucci, the traditional afer dinner dessert wine (which literally means holy wine) and a biscotti perfect for dunking.
Pour yourself a glass of inexpensive table wine!
Tasty Traditional Tuscan Crostini
Our next stop is the Sant’Ambrogio Market.
Vin Santo with Cantucci
Strolling through local markets is always a wonderful experience. The fabulous variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits is at the heart of local cuisine and another way to appreciate the local culture.
Making our way through the fresh market, we pass a tempting selection of cheeses, meats, fish…
say cheese! Formaggi!
Fabbio offers a spectacular array of fresh fish.
Our next tasting will be with Bano, truly a Tuscan treasure!
Local delicacies to be enjoyed daily!
His pride and enthusiasm are obvious and certainly add to The enjoyment of every delectable bite that we were offered.
Again, Ismael expertly describes each of the tastings starting with parmesans of various ages and a provolone, then prosciutto from Parma and Tuscany.
But we’re not through yet! Next are some local pecorinos followed by cold cuts – basically a Tuscan antipasti: prosciutto, salami Toscano, Finocchiona (salami with fennel & my fav!) and wild boar prosciutto.
OMG! But don’t forget a few olives! And of course there is a selection…
Bano is passionate about his everything he offers!
Typical Tuscan cold cut antipasto
Tasting of olives –dolce, farate, appassiles
We have savored and enjoyed every morsel with Bano and the next time you are in Florence, you must go and visit him! But we must leave because…
It’s time for lunch! Yes, believe it or not… And it’s just a few steps away at Rocco Trattoria. We enjoy more traditional Tuscan fare: panzanella, cold pasta salad and chick pea soup- with Chianti, of course! And it is buonissimo!!
Rocco’s is crowded with locals- -always a good sign!
Panzanella-leftover bread with tomatoes, cucumber, basil and red onion soaked in olive oil–OMG!!!
This has truly been a most amazing culinary experience. But there’s one more thing we had to try… No Italian dining experience would be would be complete without…
Cold pasta salad — to die for!
Gelato!!! And for this tasting we stay local and visit Gianpaolo at Il Procopio.
Passionate about his work, Gianpaolo is constantly seeking the best ingredients, experimenting with new flavors and focusing on pleasing his local clientele which is 90% of his business.
i sampled his award winning Il Procopio, Follia delle Procopi amd the incredible limone con basil- yes, lemon and basil! Out of this world!
Gelato- a perfect finale!
Grazie to Walks of Italy and to our wonderful guide, Ismael, for an absolutely fantastic Tuscan tasting tour!
The next time you’re in Florence,et local experts show you around!
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