Food is our fallback position. Museums, theatres, cinemas and nightclubs (remember those?) have all been removed from our field of play, but grocery store doors remain reliably wide open and restaurants are forever pivoting to make ends meet. We thank the food businesses who feed us mind, body and soul.
Staying well + upbeat
Anxiety, uncertainty and stress, as well as our current daily concerns about our health, mean that we’re constantly on the lookout for relaxing moments. What better than to remember carefree times when we ate elbow to elbow from the same grazing board laden with scrumptious morsels? The takeout or delivery from La Prosciutteria (via de Neri 54R / borgo San Frediano 15R / WhatsApp 331 1333698) are one way to combat bittersweet recollections of the not-too-distant past. Choose the lunch or dinner tagliere for two (22 euro), which includes four types of cured meat, three cheeses, crostini, pickles and chutneys. Looking for something more substantial? Opt for a carpaccio or well-dressed tartare. There’s even 25% off all primarily Tuscan wines purchased for home delivery.
Comfort food differs from culture to culture, but we all have an emotional bond with our childhood, especially in Italy, where happiness and health go hand in hand with the foods we indulge in. Facts are facts: there’s nothing like a good pasta bowl lavished with meat ragù to lift the spirits. If you don’t have an Italian nonna to make it for you, entrust your pasta sauce needs to Casa Ceccatelli in Greve in Chianti. A family-run butcher’s shop since 1890, Paolo Fagotto and his team have prepared a Ragù Gift Set (50 euro) available for Tuscan food lovers around the world. The custom gift box contains a selection of four sustainably packaged meat sauces: meat ragù, pork ragù, meat ragù with porcini mushrooms and wild boar ragù.
Health first and foremost
Eaters are on the lookout for foods that protect and strengthen the immune system. Organic and local produce is here to stay due to the reassurance they bring. Renowned for Mediterranean classics like falafel, hummus and couscous, Ruth’s Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant (via Luigi Carlo Farini 2a / FB: Ruth’s Kosher Florence Italy / 055 248 0888 for deliveries in the city centre) has expanded their takeout and delivery menu to include soulful homemade dishes like gnocchi, ravioli and lasagna, plus nourishing probiotic specialties such as water kefir, kombucha and kimchi.
Inject some new life into your salad this spring with innovative creations by Rosalia Salad Gourmet (via dei Servi 37 / order using the Rosalia Salad app on the Apple Store). Stock up on vitamins with the locally produced, organic and seasonal ingredients that make up wraps, grain bowls, soups and more for delivery and takeout in Florence. Combining great taste and balanced diet principles is the ambition of the brand’s creators Vincenzo Martoccia and Giancarlo Cosentino, who have been seeking culinary excellence in all its forms for over 20 years.
Bringing restaurant food to your home
The time we spend on food prep has doubled across Europe in these pandemic months. For special occasions (or simply to add a special touch to our days), we aspire to cook chef-level dishes for ourselves and loved ones. If you’re in search of inspiration, expect salivation to take over at the sight of the carnivorous creations expertly carved into existence by Macelleria Luca Menoni (Mercato Sant’Ambrogio / 331 6442604). Established in 1921, the historic butcher’s store sells the best local meat cuts, ready-to-cook specialities and, for lazier cooks, ready-to-eat dishes. Weighing in at just 30 g, Unto di Sant’Ambrogio (90 cents!) is an embrace ready to spread onto just toasted Tuscan bread, better still if paired with a nice glass of red.
If there’s one dish we’ve perfected (or tried to perfect) at home, it’s pizza. Whether you like it deep pan or thin crust, soft or crunchy, gourmet or with a drizzle of really good extra-virgin olive oil, the debate won’t be resolved until we make it back into the pizzeria. In the meantime, try Pizzagnolo’s (via dell’Agnolo 105R / 055 2480200) wholewheat, multigrain or gluten-free options. We’re liking the look of the signature Pizzagnolo (mozzarella fior di latte, burrata, zucchini blossoms and tomatoes, 14 euro) and the Santa Croce (buffalo mozzarella, zucchini blossoms, mortadella, ricotta, Bronte pistachios, 14 euro).
Shopping locally feels safer and gives maximum transparency and quality, plus it helps neighbourhood businesses. Stocking up on groceries at C.BIO (via della Mattonaia 3A) might set you back a few extra euros, but it’s a store of delights where every product comes stated with the supplier’s name.
Just opened in the San Niccolò neighbourhood, Formaggioteca Terroir (via dei Renai 19) is a mecca for French and Italian cheese and wine connoisseurs. Owned by Dane Rebecca Christophersen and Frenchman Pierre Gouttenoire, your eyes will widen at the sight of Castillon, creamy Brie de Meaux and pungent Bleu d’Auvergne alongside De Magi and Corzano e Paterno Tuscan classics, plus proper baguettes from Pank. The contemporary hatbox-like cheese cases are taking Florence by storm. Start with a nicely prepared cheesebox containing 500 grams of four French (30 euro) or Italian (27 euro) cheeses and see what whets your appetite. The box is perfect for an evening in good company, gift to a gourmet or simply to keep in the fridge in case of uncontrollable cheesy cravings!
If farm-to-home deliveries haven’t met with your approval yet, try Zero Genuino instead. It’s a straightforward way to fill your pantry every week, buying online from Florence’s producers. Start with the Aperitivo Box (37.40 euro), which contains beer made in the Valdarno, artichoke and olive toast toppers, Tuscan pecorino and sbriciolona salami.
We’re also loving the delicious seasonal groceries, succulent meats and fabulous Tuscan flour from recently launched Typiqo, which are now delivering anywhere in Florence. Our picks? Order the 5 kg veg box (20 euro), ready-to-roast stuffed chicken (19.80 euro) and burrata ravioli (5.20 euro/300 g).
In quarantine and dreaming of lampredotto? Oplì delivers the offal for your awful isolation. Order the Florentine street food box (28.90 euro) and let your taste buds transport you to your local trippaio. One pack serves four people and, importantly, includes wine.
The advertising in this article has been generously gifted to businesses by The Florentine readers David Bach and Alatia Bradley Bach.
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This article was published in Issue 277 of The Florentine.