Issue 277, April 2021 – The Crying Plate


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The Crying Plate is The Florentine’s ode to Florence’s food scene, stricken by government-mandated pandemic closures and a dearth of tourism in 2020-21. Il piatto piange is an Italian expression – literally, “the plate is crying”, meaning that the flatware is unhappy due to a lack of food, like the restaurants and eateries of Florence, whose tables have no customers.


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This publication celebrates the joy of food so often elicited in Florence and Tuscany. How do you put a new spin on fresh pasta? What’s the secret to making an artichoke omelette? What really goes on behind the scenes at a Florentine bakery? Our editors have brought all these bites together in a compilation of food articles, recipes and interviews, so that you can savor a taste of Florence wherever you are in the world.


What’s in the April issue of The Florentine


Restore the restaurants (Harry Cochrane)
A look at Tuscany’s restaurant scene savaged by government-mandated closures

Florentine flavours: Stanley Tucci’s CNN series, Searching for Italy (Jane Farrell)
The actor turns his attention to Tuscany, where Florentine flavours take center stage

Combatting food waste in Florence (Danielle Cohen)
Recently popularized app, Too Good To Go, takes steps to combat food waste in the Tuscan capital

Pay by weight (Jane Farrell)
Florentine stores are putting the environment first, having replaced excess packaging with pay-by-weight foodstuffs and household essentials.

Best events this April (Jane Farrell)
From Giuseppe Penone’s stainless steel tree sculpture in piazza della Signoria to the virtual Silk exhibition on the Salvatore Ferragamo website. Plus, the return of the Scoppio del Carro to an empty cathedral square, online community events and religious services for Easter.

The salt of another’s bread – and fishes (Hershey Felder)
How baccalà led to homemaking in the hills of Florence

Beyond Nowruz: Iranian food in Florence and Tuscany (Coral Sisk)
Ideas to celebrate spring while continuing to learn about Persian culture year round with these food businesses in Florence, Tuscany and Italy at large

Love in a Tuscan Kitchen: lemon dessert recipes (Sheryl Ness + Vincenzo Giangiordano)

A (very early) morning at the bakery: Pasticceria Buonamici (Phoebe Hunt + photos by Marco Badiani)
The day starts at 3.30am for the first roster of pastry chefs at Pasticceria Buonamici, one of Florence’s best loved artisanal bakeries.

What gardening taught me about vegetables and myself (Alexandra Korey)
A no-commitment opportunity to try one’s hand at vegetable gardening in a shared plot

Mary Ann Esposito: a knight of regional Italian food (Helen Farrell)
New Hampshire-based author and TV anchor Mary Ann Esposito has devoted her 30-year career to championing Italian regional cuisines. In this interview, the host of America’s longest-running television cooking program, Ciao Italia, recalls the beginnings of her love for Italian food, explains the charitable work carried out by her foundation and humbly plays down the distinguished achievements of being awarded an Italian knighthood and the Premio Artusi.

Motivated by food (Andrew Cotto)
When you write a book, people ask you what it’s about. When people ask me about Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure, I tell them that it’s the story of a disheartened American who arrives in Italy on holiday and decides he never wants to leave—pretty much what’s written on the back cover.

Recipe: Torta Pasqualina: Easter savory pie (Judy Witts Francini + photo by Alexandra Korey)

Marzolino cheese: a true champion of spring (Stefano Frassineti + photo by Stefano Caffarri)
This is the time when the best sheep’s milk goes into producing the marzolino cheese, a true jewel in the crown of Tuscan cheesemaking.

Recipes: the vegetable with a heart (Kamin Mohammadi)
“The omelettes arrived immediately, fluffy and creamy, filled with fresh artichokes – they were now in season, I was told, as he poured me a small glass of wine, urging me to try it, dressing a salad of tender raw artichoke with Parmesan, tearing up chunks of bread with which to mop up the egg.”

Recipe: Herb-laminated tagliatelle (Giulia Scarpaleggia)
When I was thinking about which recipe would better represent the concept of create, my word for 2021, fresh pasta popped into my mind immediately.

The chef at the Consulate: Paula Carrier (Marco Badiani)
Paula Carrier is a diplomat in her own culinary right. An Englishwoman employed as the chef at the US Consulate General in Florence, she has stayed steadfastly at the stove for eight years as consul generals and their families come and go.

Recipe: When life gives you lemons, make limoncello (Pamela Sheldon Johns)
Is it possible to have affection for a certain plant or its fruit? It might sound funny, but I have especially poignant memories when it comes to lemons.

Macarons + other sweet treats: Mirty Quibibí
Last year’s spring lockdown made me start working on the concept for this book: homemade Italian recipes (specifically Florentine and Tuscany desserts like panforte and pinolata) and French ones (madeleines, tarte tatin and cherry clafoutis).

Recipe: Apple and jam cake (Emiko Davies)
This soft, buttery loaf cake, with chopped apple and apricot jam swirled through the top, is essentially a dressed-up pound cake.

The Busatti Family: weavers since 1842 (Deirdre Pirro)
The showroom and factory I visited at the antique Palazzo Morgalanti in Anghiari belongs to Busatti, an eighth-generation family business. They have been weavers since 1842 and their showroom/shop is an Aladdin’s cave of the most magnificent handcrafted fabrics.

Feeding body, mind and soul: food cravings in Florence
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.

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