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Eating in FlorencePeople ask me all the time where to eat in Florence, the city I call home. Recently someone blogged about ten places to eat incredibly well in Florence. I disagreed with most choices. And found the list somewhat simplistic, impressed with trendy Michelin-starred places, not really what a visitor needs ...
Pino: Super Sicilian ChefPino Cuttaia is the greatest chef in Sicily, and one of the greatest in Italy. The food at his restaurant La Madia is original and creative, but has deep roots in the island’s traditions. Pino’s dishes evoke flavors remembered from his childhood and often use ingredients found only in farmhouse ...
Il CipressoI don’t know what took me so long to get to Ristorante Il Cipresso in Loro Ciuffenna. It’s one of those places that flies under the radar, not in most guidebooks, but for me, worth a voyage. Superstar butcher Dario Cecchini, my Tuscan brother, took me there for dinner, along ...
Cooking with the DuchessI’ve got to thank Santa Rosalia, nicknamed Santuzza, the patron saint of Palermo, for meeting the Duchess of Palma di Montechiaro. I was visiting the city and a great friend (the Duchess’s sister-in-law, Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza) suggested that I watch the opulent fireworks display in honor of the saint, ...
Vino Vino VinoWine festival south of Verona It's been a few years since I've gone to Vinitaly, Italy's largest wine fair, in Verona. It's huge, chaotic, and difficult to navigate, with many regional Italian pavilions crammed with booths. Some stands look like Disneyland castles, with private tasting rooms, and there's plenty of rustic, ...
Taste 2010 - Part 2I knew the fair would be impossible to navigate on Sunday and focused on Fuori di Taste events. In the afternoon I visited Carapina's new shop, and tasted gelato made with Mieli Thun's superb honey, then tasted a spoonful of crystallized ivy honey, complex, evolving flavors. I went to an ...
Taste 2010Taste is the one of the most exciting food fairs in Italy. It's in my home town of Florence in the Stazione Leopolda, an ex-railroad station, a most beautiful space. For three days well-chosen producers offer an array of culinary jewels, house wares, books, with round table discussions on important ...
Superstar Chef LunchIt's a tradition that started a few years ago, with lots of chef friends in town for the presentation of the Espresso restaurant and wine guides. Raffaele Alajmo reserved two places at my table, brought magnums of Champagne, invited a few friends, I made lunch, and everyone had a good ...
MassimoMassimiliano Alajmo, of the formal restaurant Le Calandre and casual dining space Il Calandrino, in Sarmeola di Rubano, outside Padova, is my favorite chef in Italy. His brother Raffaele is my favorite host, running the restaurants with style and a sense of fun. Massimiliano utilizes new-wave techniques and instruments-sous vide, ...
The Emperor's New ClothesFabio Picchi has always been my favorite chef-restaurateur in Florence and he's created an empire in the Sant'Ambrogio area. His restaurant Cibreo, trattoria Cibreino, bar, and private club, Teatro del Sale serve some the city's best food, at prices that range from expensive (Cibreo) to bargain (Teatro del Sale). Membership ...