Day Four was our first day spent together with everyone. One of the big things everyone wanted to do while in Tuscany was to see the countryside, visit vineyards, and sample Chianti wines. After a bit of searching we decided on the Chianti Afternoon Wine Tour.
But first – breakfast! Everyone knows eggs Benedict, but there are many versions of poached eggs with ham and hollandaise on an English muffin. For instance, instead of ham, Eggs Royale has smoked salmon and Eggs Blackstone uses bacon and tomato. Eggs Florentine is the vegetarian version substituting the meat with spinach. Eating anything described as Florentine really just means with spinach, not necessarily that it’s from Florence. Koen and I were curious as to why that is and did a bit of googling that morning: “In 1533, Catherine de’ Medici became queen of France; she so fancied spinach, she insisted it be served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine”, reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence.” So thanks to Queen Catherine de’ Medici, many Italian foods were introduced to France. Not just spinach, but also truffles and artichokes amongst others. English muffins were difficult to find, so we made our own substitution – focaccia!
After breakfast we had a grumpy baby. So Grayson and Tamar stayed at the apartment for a nap while my parents, Koen, and I headed to the San Lorenzo Market for some exploring and lunch. I mentioned in my first post that I was out to try traditional Tuscan dishes while in Florence, including the most famous Florentine streetfood: lampredotto! Lampredotto is the fourth stomach of a cow, the most tender of the stomachs. The lampredotto is first boiled in a broth of herbs and tomatoes. When you order your sandwich, you’ll see the soup pot filled with broth and lampredotto. For the sandwich, the bread is sliced in half and dipped in the broth. A lampredotto is removed, chopped, and then piled onto the roll and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, chili oil and fresh parsley salsa verde. My parents, Koen, and I ordered ours in the Mercato Centrale of the San Lorenzo Market. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite sandwich ever, but definitely worth trying! After lunch we of course finished with gelato!
Once we were finished lunch it was time to go the meeting place for our Chianti Afternoon Wine Tour. First stop: Poggio Amorelli in the village of Castellina in Chianti. We first received a tour of the facility followed by a tasting of wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cheese, and salami. Yum! After the tasting we were able to walk around a bit and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Back on the bus and off to Siena to visit Monte Chiaro located in Monteriggioni, a medieval walled town. We were able to sample more wine, cheese, and sweets! It’s a shame it gets dark so early now, because the comune is very beautiful and I would have loved to see it in the sunlight.
Once back in Florence, we split up and Koen and I headed back to the Piazza Santo Spirito, aka Lovely Florence. Some members of the wine tour recommended we go to Osteria Santo Spirito for dinner – the best restaurant of their trip – to try the truffle gnocchi. The owner of the apartment that we were staying in also recommended this restaurant, so we called to make reservations and were lucky to get a table on short notice….but at 8:30PM. Late dinner? Time for an aperitif. On the same Piazza there are many cafes, so we settled into Cabiria for a glass of wine. If you’re in Florence looking for a place to go for an apero, this place is perfect. For 7 euros, you have access to an all you can eat buffet! We didn’t want to spoil our apetitites, so we only ordered wine.
Time for dinner! As a starter, I ordered the Tuscan crostini – another item on my list of food to try. Tuscan crostini is thinly sliced bread topped with a chicken liver sauce made with butter, capers, and anchovy paste. Yum! Koen’s starter was also delicious – swordfish carpaccio! For our main course, we both ordered the truffle gnocchi. So rich and indulgent! There’s no way we could have finished it. Koen had to cancel his next course because he was so full. I asked to take the leftovers home for the rest of the family to try and was disappointed to see about half of our leftover gnocchi gone… I guess it’s so good that even the staff want to eat it!