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Eating well in Florence all year round: tasty summer dishes

Florence and the whole Tuscany are the undisputed homelands of good eating - and drinking. Just stroll through the alleys of the historic center or in the squares to be captivated by the enveloping scents of ribollita, the colors of the cereal soups and the sweetness of our desserts. Not to mention the intense fragrance of the grill, the favorite cradle of Florentine steak.

And yet, as the temperature rises, there is often a drop in appetite (I stay hungy all year, but it is a rare characteristic!). In summer the endless days fly in walks in the parks, visits to museums, shopping sessions - remember the sales! - and pure relaxation after a year of work.

And what about eating? In Florence it would be an affront to survive just with salads and sandwiches. If you think that Florentine recipes are hearty and not suitable for the August heat, fortunately you are wrong.

Scroll down this article and your appetite will come back!

Our Opera and Benedicta restaurants (3 Michelin forks) will be happy to lead you on a "trip" among our best summer dishes!


Heat-proof appetizers and whims


When the thermometer rises steeply, do not worry at all: Florentine recipes offer excellent alternatives to summer inappetence. Let's start with an appetizer, a true classic of the Tuscan table: the fettunta (meaning “greasy slice”). It is a slice of toasted bread, rubbed with a pinch of fresh garlic and flavored with local oil. With the sharp note of the Mugello oil, every bite is a pleasure.

Next to the fettunta, a place of honor has the tomato bruschetta, enriched with fresh tomato, a thriumph of flavors in this season. Just the color brings joy to the table and the scent of freshly picked basil completes a small, great Florentine dish. Both recipes are cold, prepared with ingredients rich in mineral salts. Authentic elixir against the heat of the city.

If you don't want to give up with meat - and as Tuscan I understand you - refresh yourself with a classic Italian appetizer, irresistible in the Florentine version: ham and melon. The ripe and sugary fruit blends perfectly with our salted and tasty raw ham. The summer dish satisfies both the stomach and the eyes: the orange nuances of the melon and the bright pink of the ham ​​are a very successful combination.


Bread comes first


We really like bread in Florence! A meal for us is not really complete without at least a slice of this product, that we love without salt, unlike the rest of Italy.

Tuscan bread is the basis of some of the most ancient local recipes: from the ribollita and bread soup - yummy winter queens - to the sweet bread cake, excellent in all seasons.


Such delicious preparations can be enjoyed even in midsummer. The pappa al pomodoro is one of these: in this period tomato is sweeter than ever. Excellent warm, it can be also be eaten cold, when the flavors are perfectly blended after resting one in the embrace of the other.

Pappa al pomodoro is a typical summer first course like panzanella, with regenerating fragrances from the vegetable garden. In this recipe the enveloping bread welcomes the ripe tomato and the cucumber brilliant pulp, the fragrant onion dances with the freshly picked basil. A sprinkle of Tuscan oil, white vinegar and salt, here is a cornerstone of the summer table in Florence. I usually add some tender celery.



Salads of reinforcement


If you prefer meat dishes, you can enjoy them even on the hottest days. In Florence, ancient gourmets studied effective techniques to satisfy the appetite in summer. We also eat salads, it is true, but they are "salads of reinforcement " - forget the sad lettuce.

It is not in all restaurant menus in Florence, but the tripe salad is a real treat. If you don't like offal, forget this piece of advice, otherwise enjoy a rediscovery of ancient Tuscan cuisine. The tender tripe is accompanied by a handful of black olives, fresh spring onions and chopped parsley. To seasoning, just fresh oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper ... perfect.

Among the main dishes, we also recommend you the ones with legumes, cornerstones of our diet. The legumes salads in Tuscany are enriched with potatoes, nerves, cereals, olives ... endless combinations for the most versatile foods of Florentine gastronomy.


The unmissable dessert: ice cream


After such proposals for a summer lunch in Florence, we certainly can't forget the dessert - the moment I always wait for since the beginning of the meal!

On warmer evenings, the Florentine zuccotto, a great classic, is more appreciated than usual. A shell of soft and fragrant sponge cake encloses a heart of cream or chocolate ice cream, all punctuated by candid aromatics.

If you prefer a lighter dessert, choose the undisputed king of the Italian summer: ice cream. Cone, cup or milkshake, Florentine ice cream parlors offer it for all tastes and ages. Thanks to low-calorie content and versatility, every moment is a good moment, not just the after dinner. I have the habit of treating myself to a cup of strawberry sorbet with a hint of cream two or three times a week during the warmer months (it is a physiological need!)

Walking through the streets of the historic center, you will be spoiled for choice: the ice cream parlors are at every corner and I guess you cannot resist...

Just a couple of tips to give you the best ice cream experience in Florence: choose artisan-made shops - you can often recognize the laboratory on the back - and avoid tastes with bright and unnatural colors (they are the result of artificial food colorings).

If you love fruit like me, prefer the seasonal one: your ice cream will have an authentic and rich flavour.


And now, tell the truth: don’t you get hungry?

Then book your table at the Opera Restaurant  and at the Ristorante Benedicta


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