There’s more to a good sandwich’INO

Tom Fork
February 24, 2011

Young gastronome Alessandro Frassica wasn't particularly attached to his main product when he opened ‘ino in 2006. His idea for the wildly popular sandwich stop was even more basic than simply putting together the tastiest panino in town: ‘I wanted to bring people and products together; the sandwich became the vehicle to do just that.' That's precisely what ‘ino does.

 

He started by touring Italy for the best ingredients and the people who loved them, picking products based on the rapport he felt with their makers. What was born of his research is the small shop on via dei Georgofili, where you are sure to remember the art of simply lunching and the social satisfaction that it can entail.

 

What's beautiful about the sandwich, according to Frassica, is its completeness. It has always been the everyman's meal, from freshly-baked bread, baked to hand-picked meat, cheese and vegetables. At ‘ino, the sandwich is not just a tummy-filler; it's a whole new way to appreciate the artisanal, the fresh and the best in local cuisine.

 

What does Frassica make of the American fit-as-much-as-I-can-into-a-sandwich habit? Although he maintains that people should eat what they want, he prefers to keep it simple. What matters at ‘ino are the ingredients: the constantly researched, exclusively Italian salumi, whether it be a prosciutto del pratomagno from Casentino or an artisanal salame rosa, and the selection of breads-and the balance between them. ‘At the end of the day, it can be more important to subtract something than to add it, especially to the sandwich. The ingredients are what matter, and if you hide them, where do you end up?' Beware, much as in any restaurant in Florence, your requests for additions or changes may just be denied!

 

Keeping it seasonal is serious business in this unique paninoteca. Mozzarella is off-menu until the warmer months, while cured meats with high fat content and intense spice are the stars of fall and winter. Then there are the innovative ingredients: a friend of Frassica's, for example, developed a porchetta di tonno, a quirky seafood take on the Tuscan favorite.

 

The rumors are true: Mayor Matteo Renzi does eat sandwiches at ‘ino, and he keeps it simple with a little mortazza.

 

Frassica's favorite sandwich? ‘The one I have yet to make,' he quips.

And yours?

 

 

 ‘ino

3r-7r Via dei GeorgofiliOpen every day, 11am to 3pm

Tel. 055/219208, www.ino-firenze.com

 

Photo Credits: Sofie Delauw http://thecuriouseater.com 

 

 

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