Sunday, 9 August 2009

Friendly Firenze Food

Finally. Florence.
Years of waiting have finally come to an end.
Will I like it? Will I fall in love with it? What if I don’t?
Planned as a short visit ahead of an eight-week internship in Florence, this trip was themed a budget friendly affair, and one aimed at getting to know some of the challenges ahead as well as the food map of the area. In a swift in n’ out manner, with minimum possible damage.
A 2-hour ride, and I was in Florence, and in a different time vs. space dimension.
We arrived in the late morning hours, checked in to our strangely cheap, yet clean and central hotel apartment (!!!) and headed down to try the ‘best focaccia’ in town,
Pugi. Indeed the Focaccia made for an adequate representative, and was in keeps with our budget challenge, with fruit from the market to spare. For dessert.
It was time. Ahead was one of the world’s true wonders, Brunelleschi’s dome. A gob smacking structure, it resembled an ant farm, surrounded by hundreds of tourists swarming it, little deterred by the scorching heat and the blistering sun. This is not over. I put a pin in it, "to return" when slightly cooler and, more importantly, emptier.
After a day in this heat it really is clear why gelato is so big in Italy. It’s the only thing that can take the edge off the heat and provide some comfort. Gelato is the opposite of comfort food, eaten cold and in summer, but it is nonetheless comforting. This point in time marks the beginning of my research into the wonderful world of Florentine gelati. I kicked off with
Badiani, situated outside of the tourist path, priding itself on the Buontalenti flavor, a combination of custard, cream and pine nuts invented and copyrighted in memory of the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti. Interesting. As in: "I'm not sure about this flavor exciting my taste buds, interesting...''
The following morning started in San Ambrogio market, passing a tripe vendor preparing tripe sandwiches for hungry folk in need of their breakfast tripe. A similar case of "interesting..."
A Porchetta (roast pork), spicy sauce, eggplant and pecorino sandwich at Antico noe’ was Lunch. This was, in keeping with budget, a traditional sandwich bar 'hole in the wall' venue situated, typically, under a vault. Another pin, I will return. Last stop for
Mattei cantucci in Pegna, and I was back on a train, sweating. Nothing better then sitting on the sun side of a train with no air conditioning, during August, in Italy. Oh god, am I complaining?
Sweet and quick, if not hot and sweaty, I will be back and fully prepared now that I know what lies ahead.

Via dello Studio 8
50122 Firenze

Viale dei Mille 20/R
50131, Firenze

P.zza S. Marco 10
Via S. Gallo 62/R
V.le De Amicis 49/R

Antico Noe'
Volta di San Piero 6r, Florence, Italy

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