(What that weird look at me could mean?…. Scenes from a Tuscan restaurant….)
We love our Tuscany! We love to see how visitors from other countries react to the cities, the art, the landscape but, above all, the food. Yes, we are very proud of it, of our culture and tradition. We like people from all over the world and every different culture, so when we go abroad, we love reading about curiosities, little things that people does, ways they eat, requests to avoid at restaurant etc.. and maybe you are interested in it too. We have listed below, for all of you foreign friends and food lovers, 5 do e 5 don’ts if you’re sitting in a Florentine, Tuscan, and, generally Italian restaurant.
DON’T: (what is normal for us may be not for you and vice-versa)
- Ask for a Tuscan salty bread. We know that could sound strange, but our traditional bread has no salt, we say it’s “sciocco” And it is perfect with our savoury cuisine, cured meat, cheese, and spiced dishes. Just try it and you’ll see, it is a perfect marriage.
- Ask for a well-done Fiorentina. Fiorentina T-bone steak is our masterpiece and it’ s never overcooked, PERIOD.
- Ask for a cappuccino at the end of our meal (PLEASE!). No Florentine, nor Tuscan or Italian ends a meal this way. NEVER.
- Ask for Spaghetti with meatballs, if not spaghetti alla bolognese, if not fettuccine all’Alfredo. We don’t want to shock you but, generally, we don’t put meatballs in pasta. We have spaghetti and after, meatballs, which is another dish, without pasta. Spaghetti alla bolognese doesn’t exist in Italy, ask instead for Spaghetti with meat ragù or Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (typical dish of another Italian region, Emilia-Romagna) or lasagne with meat ragu (our Tuscan ragù is delicious by the way). Fettuccine all’ Alfredo is another dish that doesn’t exist in Italy, for us is a basic dish that we do in our homes and we call it pasta in bianco or pasta al burro, to be eaten generally when someone is sick.
- Ask for soft drinks. Please. Our cuisine is not made for this stuff. With our meal we drink still or sparkling water, served fresh or at room temperature and, of course our favourite wine.
What to DO instead:
- Eat in a local forno (bakery), for a quick lunch. There are plenty of them, and they are all delicious! Various types of bread, pizzas, focaccia, schiacciata will delight you!
- When in Florence, go ask for a panino al lampredotto! Our Florentine street food. Yes, it is made with cow’s fourth part of the stomach, no, don’t think about that and go straight for a bite. Where? Nencioni in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, Sergio Pollini in Via de’ Macci, and everywhere you can find a kiosk selling it.
- Give a try to chocolate! Although chocolate is not the first thing that comes in mind when thinking about Tuscany, you must know that there is actually a “Chocolate Valley”, and it’s located between Pisa, Pistoia and Prato. To name a few: Amedei , De Bondt in Pisa, Roberto Catinari , Slitti , Bruno Corsini in Pistoia, Pasticceria Mannori in Prato.
- Drink cappuccino at breakfast, while eating delicious pastries (our breakfast is sweet), and espresso at the end of your meal. This is the Italian way!
- Eat at a local sagra if you can (our food festivals), there are various of them all over the year,this is the best way to discover our traditions and eat real food in an informal environment, and talk with us locals. If you’ re a wine lover, also, you won’t miss it! For every food we eat, there is a Sagra. You won’t regret it!