Review: Eating Italy Food Tours’ Florence food Tour
Florence is the perfect foil when you’re tired of Rome. Where the Eternal City has ancient ruins, Firenze boasts Renaissance art and architecture. While Roman cuisine is entrenched in working-class traditions of make-do and season cheap cuts, Florence – while also boasting an extensive cucina povera – flings wild boar and succulent porcini mushrooms onto the table – as well as impossible fiorentina steaks the size of France. So when I was invited to join the brand-new Eating Italy Food Tours’ Florence food tour – called The Other Side of Florence – I was more than intrigued.
I was already familiar with their excellent tours of Testaccio and Trastevere in Rome – Eating Italy’s Trastevere Twilight Tour is one of my favourite Roman experiences, in fact. In Florence, Eating Italy had decided to repeat that winning formula in the Tuscan capital and explore the Oltrarno – literally, the other side of the Arno river with its The Other Side of Florence food tour. In a sense, the area can be compared to Trastevere in Rome and is still the go-to place for artisan workshops and a simpler way of life in the city. (Eating Italy Food Tours is also known as Eating Europe Food Tours, in case there is any confusion).
The meeting point for Eating Italy’s Florence food tour was at Piazza Carlo Goldoni at 10 in the morning, before we all walked over the river to explore the historical rioni of the Oltrarno, from San Frediano to Santo Spirito. We started with a typical light pastry filled with custard – the Florentine budino, often consumed for breakfast here alongside a macchiatone – a kind of short, strong cappuccino, not unlike a caffè macchiato – but with a bit more milk.
That was the first of nine tasting experiences, ranging from gooey cheese-filled coccoli dough balls through fennel-specked salami, and also including the rather wonderful lampredotto, a Florentine speciality. While tripe is fashioned from the first three stomachs of the cow, lampredotto is the fourth stomach, and is a bit richer in flavour (and is a warm rose colour, as you can see from the video).
Another highlight was learning how to make cantucci biscuits in an historical bakery, the Pasticceria Buonamici – before tasting some wonderful local cheese, in the shape of a sheep’s cheese coming from the nearby Maremma region (from an old-school deli, Alimentari Sandro & Ivana, shown in the photo at the top of the page). Of course, by now we were ready for the strong stuff – which came in the shape of a glass of Chianti in a typical enoteca or wine shop, while nibbling on chicken liver crostini and tomato bruschette.
Amazingly, there was still space for the main course which comprised a typical Tuscan pappa col pomodoro at cult trattoria I Raddi, followed by a serving of peposo, a peppery beef stew. Right at the end of Eating Italy Food Tours Florence tour, we managed to squeeze in an ice-cream at one of the city’s best loved gelaterie (thank goodness one has a second stomach for desserts). As words simply can’t do the experience justice, have a look at the video below and get ready to set your taste-buds tingling and your mouth watering… you have been warned!
Testaccina was a guest of Eating Italy Food Tours on this four-hour walking and eating tour of Florence, scheduled daily at 10am, Mondays to Saturdays. Adult prices currently stand at €84 per person. Click here for more details and the chance to book Eating Italy Food Tours’ Florence food tour.