My Surprise Visit to Italy Next Week!
I am off for Italy from Canada next week (November 5th), a surprise birthday present. Tuesday I am alone for lunch and need a recommendation of a quintessential lunch experience in downtown Florence near the Duomo.
One of the best experiences and also one of the cheapest, is to stroll through the indoor mercato (market) in Florence, located probably a 1/4 mile from the duomo. Great vendors (good place to pick up some olive oil,balsamic vinegar, etc...to bring home) and some really great food counters serving great panini's and soups.
Go to the Mercato Centrale. Find the Nerbone food stand (near the front of the market on the round floor). Push your way to the counter and order their boiled beef sandwich, dunked in beef broth and served with both the red & green salsas. Order a tumbler of red wine. If you are hungry, order a bowl of whatever soup they are serving that day.
There is a terrific kitchen equipment shop in Florence. La Menagere in Via Ginori, 8/r.
I bought one of my very favorite pots there on a stop in Florence a few years ago. Also a terrific mezzaluna, some other knives and kitchen tools. Since then several have shown up in high-end kitchen shops and catalogues in the US for several times what I paid for them.
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L'Ambasciata restaurant in Quistello near Mantova runned by the Tamani brothers is a place that everyone she dine at once in there lifetime. The 'true' pumpkin tortelli are the bomb. Zabaione whipped with moscato d'Asti is breathtaking.