Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fun With Food in Florence


Since I am studying in Italy, it's only expected that I write a blog post on food.  The first thing that anyone asks me when wondering about my abroad experience, is always "So how is the food?" knowing that the answer has to be amazing.  I am in the birthplace of pasta, pizza, gelato, and wine - what's not to love?  I have been able to enjoy some of my favorites while exploring new dishes, and I am excited to share them with you.

Before coming to Italy, I was destined to find my perfect plate of gnocchi.  It is my favorite kind of pasta, and I love it with plenty of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and oregano.  I've had it 4 or 5 times since I've been here and haven't been disappointed.  Ristorante Teatro, right behind my apartment, is one of the best and most authentic restaurants I've found in Florence.  The staff doesn't speak much English, every dish is homemade and it's affordable.  Pictured below is their gnocchi alla sorrentina, which is my go-to when eating at this restaurant.

Ristorante Teatro, Florence

In addition to pasta, Florence is home to the best pizza I've ever had in my life (and that's saying something!) Gusta Pizza is a tiny, little hole in the wall pizza place that has individual pies ranging from 5-8 euro each and are made fresh to order in their brick oven.  Gusta also owns a trattoria and a panini shop all on the same block in Santa Croce, Florence.  Julia and I have been to Gusta Pizza 3 times already, and plan on bringing our friends there next week when they visit.  My favorite is their Gusta pie, which has cherry tomatoes, arugula, and Parmesean cheese.

Gusta Pizza, Florence

Thanks to our program director here in Florence, I have a new found love Antipasto dishes.  My favorite one that she introduced me to is a Florentine specialty - fried pasta balls with Stracchino cheese and Prosciutto.  The pasta balls are of a fried, dough-y texture and pair nicely with the smooth and sweet Stracchino cheese.  I'm not a huge meat lover, so I leave most of the Prosciutto for Julia.

Ristorante Teatro, Florence

Last, but not least is gelato.  Julia and I have a favorite gelato place here in Florence that is conveniently down the street from our apartment called Vestri.  It is a gourmet chocolate shop that also specializes in gelato.  Their flavors are made with their specialty chocolate and fresh fruits and spices.  I've stuck to my usual Straciatella flavor (like a vanilla chocolate chip) and Lampone which is raspberry.  Vestri is only open during the day, so it has become our stop after lunch everyday.  In the evenings after dinner, we wander the city to find a new gelato place (you do the math, that's two gelato per day!).  Pictured below is a tri-cone of raspberry, fior di latte (milk's flower) and baccio (hazelnut and coffee).  

Gelato in Florence, Italy

I hope many of you can travel to Italy and enjoy the wonderful food and treats that this country has to offer!



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