The street food is the most immediate way to know the history of a place, all around the world. Today we talk about 4 street food in Florence.
Talking about the gastronomic tradition, nowadays the street food is really successful.
Thanks to the fact that it is the quickest option to have lunch and thanks to cheaper prices the street food has received approval from the public in a period in which everybody has less time and less money.
Something that we have just seen in movies or abroad, like the hot dog carts in New York, has started to settle in the Italian tradition too.
The diffusion of this "new tradition" is due to the widespread of the culinary reality shows too, where amateur chefs show you something you have always eaten while walking, plated up on a dish in a very smart way.
People have the idea that the street food is the best chance to taste the genuine flavors and essences of the past and Florence is one of the best examples of this street food culture development.
Colourful vans, three-wheeler vans (the Ape cars from the Piaggio factory created in Italy during the 50's) started to change into movable kitchens and together with wineries, small gastronomic shops and bakeries can help you to appreciate the poor and rural cooking in a new version but still traditional.
While having your trip to Florence, if after visiting the Uffizi Gallery you will be comprehensibly hungry, you can find "All'antico Vinaio" just around the corner. It is a historic vintner who has won the TripAdvisor award for the best street food in Florence. You will have to queue for a little while but I am sure you won't regret it! I have been there and you will surely forget the wait after you tried its delicacies.
You can choose between rolls and the famous "schiacciata", a kind of pizza seasoned with olive oil and salt.
Of course, the schiacciata will be filled with ham, porchetta (Italian spit-roasted pork), mozzarella, pecorino (Italian sheep's milk cheese), artichokes cream, mushrooms cream, and so on.
According to the Italian culinary tradition, everything has a better taste when accompanied by a glass of wine. And Tuscany is one of the best places to find excellent wines! The peculiarity of this place is a corner, exactly at the entry, with a variety of bottles of Tuscan wine (and not only!) where you can choose by yourself the wine you prefer - like a self-service wine bar -.
In Florence most of the places where to eat are provided with a deli counter where you can choose from a wide variety of cold cuts, dairy products, creams and vegetables pickled in oil. They offer a menu rich in done food, but you can modify it choosing from the deli counter and combining them at your own taste, it is a must of the Florentine street food.
One of the most characteristic breaks in the city is the sandwich with "Lampredotto". The name derives from "Lampreda" an aquatic vertebrate whose mouth has a structure similar to the shape of this kind of tripe. In fact the lampredotto is a typical florentine cooking dish made from the fourth stomach of a bovine. Even if it is a dish from the very first tradition, nowadays it is still spread thanks to numerous kiosks that sell lampredotto all around the city.
The abomaso, this is the name of the fourth stomach of a cow, is boiled in hot water with tomato, onion, parsley and celery. Florentines love this street food and even The Daily Mail has called lampredotto "a tripe-lover's dream".
One of the best places in the city where to eat it is the Kiosk of Sergio and Pier Paolo, not just because of the location - you can appreciate the sandwich sitting on the stairs of "St. Ambrogio's Church" from where you can see all the streets going towards the city center - but exactly for the lampredotto itself. You can taste it in different versions: the traditional sandwich with the green cream, the lampredotto with beans, potatoes or artichokes. The kiosk has received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.
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Some bars of the city still bake the "semelli" that is to say little rolls from the Florentine tradition filled with different kind of meat typical of the Tuscan cooking: pork, venison, boar meat, beef stew and donkey stew. Combine it with a glass of wine and you will definitely appreciate your roll!
In the end, if you want to find the perfect end to your street food meal just find a bakery and ask for a "bombolone" an Italian kind of pastry similar to a doughnut but not ring-shaped, it is fried and covered with icing sugar. The name derives from "bomba" or bomb, we don't know if it is for the shape similar to a grenade or for the high-calorie density that makes it a calorie bomb. If it's any consolation it isn't filled with any cream!
This was just a starting point for my research about the street food diffusion in the Italian culture.
As I proved, you can appreciate dishes from the tradition in a new version, of course some of you will appreciate the change and some others will go on refusing it. But this can be an incentive for chefs to do better and smarter, and for people to become more open-minded.