Posted by: gardner310 | October 20, 2009

Eating and drinking in Florence…

Hills of Tuscany

Hills of Tuscany

Words from a Florence Resident

I have lived in Florence since 1984. I’m a Florence Market Maven, writer, foodie and culinary guide. My tips for Journeywoman are all about food and wine.

Living in Italy is like living in a candy store for wine lovers! Every region of Italy produces wine. The best way to sample regional wines is not by touring the wine country and stopping at wineries, as we do in California, but by sitting down at a local bar and having wine by the glass. Coffee shops also pour wine, usually a local table wine, called vino da tavola. It is what the locals drink, a light wine to have while eating. For more important wines, or for a larger selection, try stopping by an enoteca or vinaio.

Remember Gelateria Le Carrozza (near the Ponte Vecchio). What better place to have a light lunch or meal than at an ice cream parlor. Located just on the Duomo side of the Ponte Vecchio, this is one of my favorite traditional ice cream parlors. Moreover, it has a small dining menu too. The banana splits are a big favorite here By the way, Marco Polo did not bring the banana split to Italy. The banana split was invented in 1904 at Strickler’s Drug Store in Pennsylvania.

This is one of my favorite bakeries in Florence. When I tire of unsalted Tuscan bread and need some flavorful fun breads, I go to Pany Da Lory Di Maestri Lorena (inside the Mercato di San Lorenzo) Lory is from northern Italy where the variety of breads is fabulous. Her stand in the central market is filled with great breads–whole wheat. pumpkin, rye, and many more. Her small baguettes are perfect for a picnic. Ask for a sample. She is a ray of sunshine and loves her job and it shows! She also sells fresh pasta, cookies, breadsticks, and sometimes cheeses from Alto Adige where she is from.

Florence Market

Florence Market

Eating at Il Latini is like being in a Fellini film. Come hungry and let them take care of you. Often you won’t even see a menu, just say “Basta!” when you are full! An institution in Florence where tradition rules-Pappa al pomodoro, ribollita, as a well as great grilled meats. It is a fabulous meal as well as entertaining! It is hard to find but worth the search. Via dei Palchetti, 6R (off Via del Moro, near the Arno),Tel: 055-210-916, closed Monday.

Judy Witts is the owner of Divina Cucina Cooking School in Florence

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