Do As the Locals Do
The Staples of Florence
From the Negroni to Bistecca alla Fiorentina, here are a handful of culinary staples that originated in the heart of Florence.
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A classic cocktail made up of gin, Campari and vermouth, the Negroni was invented in Florence in the early 20th century. Legend has it that Count Camillo Negroni walked into Café Casoni and asked for a stronger version of an Americano cocktail. Swapping the soda water for gin, the Negroni was born. While parts of the story are questionable, including Negroni’s status as a count, what we know for sure is we have the city of Florence to thank for this drink.
Translating to black crostini, crostini neri is a classic Tuscan antipasto. In this dish, a toasted or grilled slice of bread carries chicken liver pâté. The name comes from the dark brown color of this spread, which consists of the livers cooked down along with other ingredients like celery, onion, carrots, capers and often anchovy paste.
Made from the fourth stomach of a cow, the abomasum—lampredotto—is traditional Florentine street food. The meat, which is often slow-cooked in vegetable broth, is served on a Tuscan roll with salsa verde. The name itself comes from lamprey eels, which were once found in the Arno river—the meat and the eels share some resemblance.
With roots just outside of Florence in the city of Prato, cantucci is a classic almond biscuit. Dry and crunchy, the biscuits are often served with something to dip them in. The most traditional pairing is Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine which translates to holy wine.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Tracing back to the Middle Ages, bistecca alla fiorentina is a steak that demands both respect and intrigue. Typically two- to three-inches thick, the rare steak is simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and rosemary before being seared. The cut of meat comes from the prized Italian Chianina breed of cattle.
Although it may resemble focaccia, schiacciata is entirely its own. This Florentine bread is thin, with a crispy exterior and the flavor of olive oil throughout. You will commonly find it around town as the base for Florence’s famous sandwiches.