Gelato. This Italian style ice cream truly needs no further introduction.
During my recent (or come to think of it, not so recent) trip to Florence, I completely overindulged on this gem of a dessert. I lost count of how many scoops of gelato I consumed – though in my defence, it was very hot and I needed a good way to cool down. And judging from the roaring business of the gelaterias, I suspect I’m not the only one with this mindset.
As you can see, we consumed a fair amount of gelato during our trip. (We actually ate a lot more than what you see in the photos, but I didn’t want to scare you all with the sheer amount of it all…) We visited about 4-5 gelaterias throughout the trip, but two of them stood out – these are the two I shall blog about here. Do note that there are a fair number of ‘tourist trap’ gelaterias which serve not-very-good gelato at very high prices. You should only expect to pay about 3-4 euro for a medium sized cup.
I mentioned previously that one of the waiters in I’Tozzo di Pane recommended his favourite gelateria to us. And I’m very glad he did, or I doubt we would have found the place! Gelateria La Carraia is slightly further off the normal tourist routes (it’s a 10-15 minute walk from Ponte Vecchio) but I can safely say the walk is worth it. Plus, you can eat more gelato under the guise that you’ve “earned it”. Sort of, anyway.
This place was ALWAYS filled with people each time we paid them a visit (and we went at different times of the day!). Which is always a good sign, especially since they’re not in the main tourist areas. An extra plus is how a large majority of their customers were locals. The gelato here was very good – creamy and very flavoursome. Prices are also more reasonable compared to some of the other gelaterias dotted all around Florence (cones start at 1 euro and go up to 3 euro, cups start at 1.30 euro and go up to 6 euros for a massive cup). My favourite flavours were pistachio (pistacchio) and coconut (cocco), whilst R was a huge fan of the lemon (limone).
The other gelateria which we found ourselves going back to was Perche No!. It took us a while to find this gelateria, much to our initial dismay. Imagine how silly we felt when we finally found it on a street that we’d walked by countless times! It’s true that you never notice something unless you’re actually looking out for it. Anyway.
My favourite flavour here was the sesame (fiordilatte miele e sesamo) – the one on the far right in the photo above. As I enjoyed this so much, I was delighted to find that they had a brief description of each of the flavours on their website. Turns out that the sesame gelato is made from mozzarella, sesame caramel and Mugello chesnut honey. Mozzarella! I definitely didn’t even think that it contained cheese of any sort – perhaps this explains why I enjoyed it as much as I did (I looove cheese you see). This was a perfect combination though, and the crunchy bits of sesame caramel went really well with the creamy gelato.
In between all the gelato eating, we also managed to find the time to eat some sandwiches. Even before I set off on the plane, I had two such places highlighted on my list of “places to eat in”.
Da Nerbone is situated in the Mercato Centrale, which is Florence’s food market. They only open for lunch, and are famed for serving excellent Fiorentine “cucina povera” (poor people’s food). From what I could gather, the menu consisted a few pasta dishes, some soups and sandwiches. The sandwiches are the main event here though. There was a huge crowd of both locals and tourists each time we walked past the stall, which is always something I use to judge how good the food is. Food is also cheap, you’ll probably spend only 5-8 euros per person when eating here.
The tripe sandwich (trippa alla fiorentina). Tripe is basically parts of the stomach of the animal (usually a cow), and is very popular in this part of Italy. Now, I have an admission to make: I don’t like eating offal of any sort. It’s not that I find it disgusting, but I just don’t like the texture of it. But I’d heard so much about this sandwich that I knew I had to try it. And I managed to eat it all – so that in itself tells you that it must have been a darn good sandwich. The tripe was cooked well and was beautifully tender. Topped with the green sauce (which contained some parsley amongst a lot of other ingredients, I bet) – yum. One thing to note here is that the bread used is not of the soft variety, and is slightly hard. I suspect this is so the bread can soak up all the wonderful juices of the tripe. I’m not complaining though, as I wouldn’t want my sandwich to turn soggy and fall apart in my hands!
The other sandwich that’s highly popular is the panino con bollito – a boiled beef sandwich that’s bagnato (dipped in the meat juices). Pure genius, this is. I love that the bread is dipped in the meat juices before the sandwich is put together, as it makes for a very juicy and flavoursome sandwich. The beef was again beautifully tender, and was topped with their familiar green sauce. If I must be honest, I preferred this – it didn’t taste as “slimy”. I’d still quite happily eat either though!
The other popular sandwich place is Il Fratellini. It’s known as “the hole in the wall” because that’s what it is – a tiny stall in what looks like a hollowed out wall. No seating is available, but customers are more than happy to eat on the sidewalks. The menu is on two boards next to the counter, and they have approximately 30 variants on the menu. With most of the sandwiches only costing 2.50 euro, this place is great for a quick lunch or snack. In fact, we bought some sandwiches for our last dinner in Florence – we had a plane to catch in the evening and didn’t have time for a proper sit down dinner, so we packed the sandwiches and ate them when we got to the airport.
Ham and truffle cream. The beautiful aroma of the truffle cream hits you the moment you lift this towards your mouth, and goes beautifully well with the salty ham.
Wildboar salami with butter. If you look closely, you’ll note that the butter is served in beautiful thick chunks here. Utter perfection (as this is how I eat freshly baked bread – with similarly thick chunks of butter). The wildboar salami tastes meatier compared to normal salami, and makes me wish wildboar was something that was more available in London.
Ham and parsley sauce. This was good, but nowhere close to the deliciousness of the truffle cream version.
For such a small place, they also have a rather impressive selection of wines. Again, these are very reasonably priced.
So that rounds up most of the food I ate in Florence. (See here for part 1 and part 2.) Writing this post makes me yearn for the food, and for that reason I’m sure it won’t be long before I visit again.
Gelateria La Carraia
Piazza N. Sauro 25/r
Via Tavolini 19r
Mercato Centrale (Stall no. 292)
Via dei Cimatori 38/r
I know this post is fast becoming one that is too long, but I wanted to share some photos I took during my trip. No more words, I’ll let the photos do the talking. 🙂
26 thoughts on “The food of Florence [part 3]”
Wow, a sesame ice cream with mozzarella in it? I’m so intrigued by that! 😮 I love all of the gelato porn! 😛
I assure you it was delicious, I only wish I could have regular access to it! 😛 A girl can dream…
Hi, I’m the owner of gelateria Perchè no. I’m very happy that you enjoy my gelato, but I don’t use mozzarella to make Sesamo icecream (???). It’s made with milk, crunchy caramel sesame seeds and chestnut honey!!! Best regards, Cecilia
P.S. We make a good RICOTTA cheese gelato
Was there over 5 yrs ago and similarly went on a similar gelato massacre! Great pics! i so want to go back next summer and properly document the city and its food again.
Thanks Guan. I think everyone does go slightly gelato mad when in Italy – it’s almost compulsory! I definitely am hoping to return to Florence soon, didn’t get to explore the Tuscany countryside and I hear it’s beautiful.
now shall we swap places? so adorable those ice cream!
Grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it? 😛
The tripe sandwich looks kinda nice, and I’m suffering from gelato jealousy. Gealousy? 😉
Gealousy – love it! It put a huge smile on my face, so thank you for that!
came here thru zurin’s blog. love your photos, esp those in this post. was in florence too recently. would like to read your other florence posts–maybe you can mention them and link them in this post bc it’ll be hard sift thru all your posts. or have a search box?
sorry, am not familiar with your blog but now i’ve found the search box n your other florence posts. wow, you ate well!
Hi Terri, thanks for stopping by! Sorry it took you a while to find the other posts, I did actually link to them in this post (right at the end, before the set of photos). No matter though as you found them in the end. 🙂
I definitely ate a lot during the trip (maybe even overinduldged), but hey, it’s not everyday you’re in Florence. Lol.
Oh wow what stunning photos – I am off to Umbria in a weeks time and cannot wait for my gelati fix – the gelati is so good in Italy I find myself eating it several times a day!
Lucky you! 🙂 I’ll have to rely on Scoop to keep me going until I visit Italy again…
beautiful photos Suyin! And that’s a heck lot of gelato but I could easily eat that much on a holiday in florence too I bet 😀 And woa, that truffle cream. I bet that was out of this world. I wanna whack my face right into that. x
Thank you! It’s so easy to get carried away with gelato when it’s so good and the weather is beautifully sunny!
Those icecreams look marvellous although I think I’ll skip the tripe sandwich as I ordered tripe once in France and didn’t like it and made my husband swap with me!!
We have good friends in Florence and we’re way overdue to visit them.
Ah, you have a good excuse to pay Florence a visit then. 😉
Re: the tripe, it’s one of those things you either hate or love, I think. Bit like Marmite in a way…
STUNNING PHOTOS Su-yin! And go gelato! I like pistachio and cocco too from Rome 🙂
Thanks Catty! Pistachio is one of my favourite gelato/ice cream flavours. Always the one I try first. 😀
Love all the travel shots, food reveiw and food shots. I would have been all over the gelato too, not so much the tripe though.
I love that butter chunk salami sandwich!
Glad you like the post. 🙂 And am even gladder that you like the butter chunk salami sandwich! We would get along *so* well.
Yep, the best ice creams are Italian!
Love your photos, very beautiful – my favourite one is the last but one with the streaks of colour.
Oh I feel you with the gelati! When we went to Rome, we overdosed on ALL sorts of flavours and colours…. wonderful photos
Beautiful pics of Florence !