You might be surprised to learn – bistecca fiorentina isn’t really what locals are biting into every week. Florence is known for its incredible food, but the local food actually comes from more humble beginnings. Throughout history, most Tuscans were farmers and created dishes based on what they had left over after paying landowners. That means steaks weren’t exactly on the menu. Want to find out what it really means to eat like a local in Florence?
Let’s explore some of the more typical dishes and some places you can grab them!
The classic panini
While dinner may be rich plates of pasta, local lunch involves a delicious panino from the Florentine flatbread: schiacciata. This is much like focaccia, and is usually used to make a sandwich filled with local cheese and salumi. You may have heard about this with All’Antico Vinaio, but the truth is there are plenty more historic panini shops around Florence with delicious sandwiches and a glass of wine.
To find the best place to grab one, I suggest checking out @mementomartina’s free panino guide to Florence! Save it here.
One particular local specialty: Lampredotto.
Not for everyone – but one of Florence’s local specialty. Lampredotto is actually an offal dish served up in a sandwich.
This Lampredotto is made from a part of the bovine stomach. Before serving it is boiled and seasoned, then scooped onto a piece of the typical flatbread. You’ll usually find this as a street food, wrapped in paper. Best place to get it is fresh from a typical food truck or kiosk.
Try out the ‘L Trippaio di San Frediano located in Piazza dei Nerli.
Apart from Pasta, Florence is really known for their rich stews. One in particular is the Ribollita. This literally means re boiled, referring to it’s food waste saving style. Leftover scraps are mixed in, especially bread crumbs, and a leafy green like kale, then boiled up.
The bread that makes the stew so filling is the classic salt-less Tuscan bread. Cooked at a slow boil means the bread soaks it all up.
Another great soup is the Pappa al Pomodoro, much like a tomato soup with bread cooked inside to add an extra thickness.It’s best that you make it with rock hard stale slices of bread, so they can soak up the tomato soup.
Pasta & Cinghiale
Of course pasta is a classic in Florence, and most often you’ll find it with a delicious ragu of cinghiale. Cinghiale is a wild boar found plentiful throughout the country, but in Tuscany they tend to use it a lot in local dishes. As a ragu is the most common serving style, but you will also find many salumi from boar meat!
Pecorino & Honey
You can’t go wrong with ordering an easy cheese plate of Tuscany’s famous pecorino cheese drizzled with some honey. These sheep’s milk cheeses are the most commonly found throughout Tuscany. They are often aged, and therefore a tad try, this is what makes them so good with the sweet honey.
Grab one of these as an appetizer or a aperitivo anywhere throughout the city!