Photos by Sofie Delauw, The Curious Eater
Origins and purity, quality and know-how: these are the things any modern foodie looks for in a dish. And foodies from all four corners of the world rarely get as much satisfaction as that produced by Florence's centuries-old culinary tradition. What many gourmands may not expect to find in the kingdom of the bistecca fiorentina, however, is a budding confections sector, one in which chocolatiers are the rising stars and native Florentine Claudio Pistocchi is the veritable king.
Pistocchi is best known in Florence for his mind-blowing chocolate cake (ask any Florence local), the Torta Pistocchi, which Pistocchi and his then sous chef Michele Mezzasoma invented almost 20 years ago.
The cake's three simple ingredients are of the top quality kind: pure dark chocolate (up to six different types), very little cocoa powder and cream. It does not contain eggs, butter, sugar or flour (those who want or need to avoid gluten can enjoy it). There are no preservatives or additives. Sold vacuum-packed, this pure chocolate delight has an equally impressive shelf life: it can stay in the fridge for up to four months without losing its inebriating flavours.
After years as a chef, running the kitchen in some of Florence's most prestigious restaurants, Pistocchi opened a fine foods shop in city. In the meantime, demand for his cake grew by word of mouth, and he started getting more and more requests for the soft, rich, velvety cakes. After a few years, Pistocchi decided to close his shop and open a small chocolate factory named after his famous cake in the Novoli area with his parents and sister Claudia.
This family of Florentine chocolatiers has since diversified: aside from the classic cake, the small family-run confections business now makes different versions with ingredients that range from hot pepper to pears, sour cherries and candied orange peals. Other products include chocolate bars, hot chocolate, pralines, chocolate spreads and anything cacao-derived.
The Torta Pistocchi is good enough to knock the socks off any chocolate lover this side of Alps. It is 100 percent Made in Florence and each torta is produced by hand, the old-fashioned way. And you can't ask for more traditionally Florentine than that.
via Ponte di Mezzo 20 - tel 055/0516939
TF's food photographer, Sofie Delauw, recently launched www.thecuriouseater.com, a photography blog about great food and where to find it in Florence and beyond. In the blog, Sofie shares her favorite places to eat and foods to photograph, as well as insider stories and tips about the people behind the foods she shoots.