There’s a couple of delicacies and local food specialties here in Florence that I definitely don’t want to miss out on! Number one is – no doubt about it – the famous bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Also on my list as well: lampredotto, pappa al pomodoro (cold soup made of bread and tomatoes), finocchiona (soft sausage with fennel seeds), ragu di cinghiale (wild boar spaghetti sauce), schiacciata con l’uva (a sweet kind of flat bread dessert with grapes) and ravioli alla castagna (ravioli with chestnut stuffing).
To name just a few of them.
But first things first.
If you love tripe you will love this next local treat: lampredotto! Lampre what? Yep, a sandwich stuffed with boiled cow’s stomach. Yes, you just read that. The 4th stomach of a cow, to be very specific.
That idea immediately piqued my interest. Or what did you think. So off we go on our first morning in Florence, looking for some breakfast. I read about the best place in Florence to eat lampredotto and our landlord also confirmed what I had read: da Nerbone is the best.You can find it at the Central Market (Piazza del Mercato Centrale) in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. And you just can’t miss it, both the market and da Nerbone. Enter the market, walk around and stop at the counter surrounded by the biggest crowd.
We were there around 10am and it took us easily 30 minutes to order our food. Queuing is the only thing you can do then. On the opposite side of the counter are a few wooden benches, chairs and tables where you can enjoy your food later on.
The lampredotto sandwich (€3,5) is pretty popular. However if you are not into tripes, then there are also sandwiches with roast beef (€4), boiled beef (bollito, €3,5), turkey (tacchino, €4), porchetta (€4) and pork roast (arista, €4).
Not satisfied yet? A variety of Italian pastas, risotti and soups is also available.
We finally lay our hands on our breakfast sandwiches and euhm, half a litre of red wine (€6). Welcome to Italy! We sit down and scrutinise our catch. The hubs has ordered the pannino con bollito: a generous portion of boiled beef topped with green parsley sauce and a spicy red chili sauce. And it looks absolutely gorgeous!And there’s the beast in my welcoming hands: the lampredotto sammie, and it also comes with green and red sauce. The tripes are boiled in water together with vegetables such as celery, onions, garlic, fresh herbs and (sometimes) tomatoes and carrots until it’s tender. It’s again a good example of a poor Italian peasant meal.
Here’s how the guy behind the counter assembles the sandwich next: the michetta bun is sliced in half, both halves are put on a grill for a couple of minutes to crisp up, a portion of the hot tripes is sliced in the meantime, the inside of both crunchy buns is generously drizzled with a splash of the tripe broth, then the tripes are added together with the green and red sauce.
Close the bun.
Ready.We munch in silence. These buns stuffed with meat good indeed. Lunchtime is closing in fast in the meantime and the crowd (which consists of a healthy mix of locals and tourists) only gets bigger and bigger.
Be prepared but don’t let it scare you off.
It’s well worth the wait.