On our trip to Florence we didn’t want to focus solely on amazing architecture Florence has to offer, but also on its delicious food and wine. Because how can you really get to know a capital of Tuscany if not through its food? Florence, also known as a foodie paradise has a lot to offer and we spent one morning with Walks of Italy discovering local market and its delicacies. In a guided tour that lasted three hours and a half we thoroughly covered all the important aspects of Florentine cuisine. And the best thing of our tour was that we got to see the hidden spots where only locals go which we would’t have found otherwise. Our meeting point was by the statue of Dante in front of the beautiful Basilica of Santa Croce. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were only six people in our group (including us) so that made it even more enjoyable. Anna, our guide was very charismatic and knowledgable and didn’t focus solely on food, but throughout the tour pointed out also some buildings of historical importance.
Sant’ Ambrogio Market
First thing in the morning we headed to the nearby market Sant’ Ambrogio. This is the place where locals get everything from fresh flowers to pasta, fish, cheese, wine and so on. Since it was Saturday morning the market was full of locals buying fresh and delicious ingredients for their lunch. It was very interesting to experience the crowded market and watch the locals as they go by their day. We started the tasting of Parmesan and famous Pecorino sheep cheese, continued with prosciutto from Parma and compared it to the Tuscan prosciutto, which is a bit more salty and peppery. Next on our menu were olives of different shapes, sizes and colours. Later we also had a light lunch in Sant’ Ambrogio Market where we tried three Tuscan specialties. This included the famous Panazarella salad, which is a salad that is very popular to eat in summer. Usually made from stale bread (so it not goes to waste) with tomatoes, onion, olives, etc. Next was Pappa del pomodoro, which is a tomato and bread soup with seasoning such as basil, oregano, garlic and olive oil. Very delicious! And last but not least pasta with garlic olive oil and pancetta. Yum!
Wine tasting in Enoteca
Our next stop was wine tasting in local wine shop and restaurant. There we tasted two typical Tuscan red wines together with little snacks like bruschetta. We learned the difference between the table wine and bottled wine and the ageing process. We also tried the best home made olive oil. Last but no least was a white desert wine from Sicily that very strong and sweet. You don’t actually drink but rather you dip into it delicious pastry with almonds. On our way from Enoteca we were also encouraged to try a very popular local snack lampredotto, which is made from cow’s stomach. It used to be food for the poor, but is nowadays typical Florentine street food. Unfortunately none of us had the courage to try it se we headed to our last stop of the tour.
The last stop on our tour was of course gelato. There are ice cream places around every corner, but this one was one of the best. In 2011 it won the first prize in Firenze Gelato Festival and it did not disappoint. They offer a wide variety of rich, creamy flavours and the flavour that convinced us all the most was lemon with basil. Perfect for hot summer days!
So, after three hour of trying all the different specialties we were very happy to have been invited to join on this tour. It gave us an insight into the local scene that we hoped we would get, try typical Florentine cuisine and experience the vibrant market of Sant’ Ambrogio. We had a blast! Many thanks to Walks of Italy for having us. Check them out here and don’t forget to book your tour. You won’t regret it. 🙂