Europe | Florence & Tuscany | Italy | Travel

Florence for Foodies

During my trip to Florence in 2007, the food did not leave much of an impression on me. I remember having great breakfasts in the morning, ones that consisted of good espresso and something like a croissant. And I recall a sumptuous bowl of Tuscan stew, but beyond that nothing that stuck out.

Me in Florence in 2007, I am smiling, but I am wondering where all the good food is hiding!

That was 100% my fault. So sorry, Florence. I was wrong.

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Like we did in Kyoto, Mr. Misadventures and I requested a custom Context Travel tour, Florence for Foodies. And as usual, the Context Travel team and Adrienne, our guide, delivered an exceptional, food-focused experience.

At the end of our tour, what I came to understand was that the most important aspect of Tuscan food is simplicity. Everything is fresh, no need to label anything organic, all food is organic here! People shop for one day or two and visit small shops focused on a single product or category of products.

We met Adrienne in the Piazza della Repubblica right after we had enjoyed a delicious espresso and I drooled at the sweets display.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

We began our food pilgrimage at Procacci, a beautiful truffle shop belonging to the Antinori wine family. We sampled (and then ordered more!) of their house specialty, Panini tartufati, a small sandwich with a special truffle cream. Just inhaling the air in this shop is pure heaven and the locals arrive in the late afternoon for a glass of prosecco and Panini tartufate as an apertivo.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

We walked around with Adrienne pointing out a bit of history about some of the buildings (mostly owned by wine families in the area) and little unique elements such as the original “drive-thru” windows. The noblemen would drive up to the window for a glass of wine and then hit the road.

We stopped at a local bakery to sample a few Tuscan specialties, both sweet and savory. Most bread, except some focaccia, doesn’t have salt. The salt comes from the pecorino, prosciutto, and salami and is not needed in the bread. The reason? Centuries before, the Pope charged a steep tax on salt, so the merchants evoked “Me ne frego” (“I don’t give a damn!”) and they did without. And they still do today.

Snacking on sweets called for a coffee to chase the sugar, we visited Café Giacosa, the café where Negroni cocktails were invented. A few years back the café was purchased by Roberto Cavalli, he tried to rename the café, but the Florentines protested as it had such history and the name was reverted. We tried a lovely budino made with something like a patisserie cream mixed with rice.

What I loved about this spot (and all the places we went to were full of locals). At Giacosa, there were businessmen standing around eating their bowls of pasta, going back for seconds and quickly drinking down their espressos before heading back to work.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

During our five days in Florence, we visited Café Giacosa quite a few times!

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Mr. Misadventures and I use/eat a lot of olive oil, so Adrienne took us to the store where she buys hers, La Bottega dell’Olio, or as I like to call it, heaven! Different types of olive oil are used with different dishes, whether it is to dip into, put on top of pasta or marinating, it is not one size fits all. We tasted several olive oils from regions all over Italy as well as balsamic vinegar, I never wanted to leave.

Last stop was a grocery store. More like the traiteurs I am familiar in France. But it’s a store you can sit down and eat in as well.

Which we did. Of course, we did!

With pecorino, parmesan, prosciutto and salami toscano. Oh and wine.

The Grana Market is family run and the store that Adrienne goes to for its parmesan, after sampling some with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top, I understood why.

Just when I thought I could not eat anymore, we were done.

In reality, we spent three-plus hours on a fantastic food journey through the street of Florence with an exceptional guide, something I have come to expect from Context Travel.

This is not a regular tour, but I recommend that Context considers adding it! It is a great way to meet locals and see how they eat on a daily basis, really Florence is a wonderful town for Foodies!

How about you? Have you been to Florence? What was your favorite food item? If you haven’t, what do you think you would like to try? Comment and share!

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  1. This looks so fun and interesting! I had great food experiences when I was in Florence last time, but I would love to get a tour like this to discover small local places and typical food from the area.

    1. @Jenna, it was great, Adrienne is a total foodie (along with art, wine, history expert) she took us to all her shops, it was awesome!

  2. Oh how I would love to travel to Florence….those bakeries look heavenly. I would gain 100 pounds lol Thanks for sharing!

  3. I loved Florence food (most of which I found out about from Local bloggers), I should have guessed there would have been a food tour with all of the wonderful food there. Next time I go back I will definitely book a tour 😀

  4. I haven’t been to Florence, but I would love to go. I recently went on a restaurant crawl in Asheville and loved it. I think I should go on a food tour of every city that I visit. Having someone else guide me around would be so much better than fumbling. If I did it at the beginning of a trip, then I would have a good idea of where I wanted to eat during the rest of my trip.

    1. @Lynda, now that I have done this a couple of times, I want to do it for every trip! It is a great way to lay the groundwork for where to eat on your entire trip.

  5. If I ever go to italy, I want to eat all the pizza, bread and drink tons of wine and samplers of cheese and meat plates. Clearly I love food.

  6. I’m pretty picky, so food choices are one of the main things that would make me nervous- IF I had the money to travel the world and try new places, haha!

    1. @Erica, if you do head out there, food tours are a great way to safely explore, you can tell them you are picky – and even if you don’t eat anything on the tour, there is an awesome opportunity to just talk to a local about where to get the food you do like. I have a gluten-free friend that did that in Paris.

  7. I am a picky eater, as well as vegetarian, so this might not be the tour for me, but I now want to move to Florence anyways. I’ve always wanted to go, and even the names of the stores make my wanderlust flare up! Sounds like you had an incredible trip, and I’m glad you gave it a second chance 🙂

    1. @Lily, I think a custom tour like this might be perfect for a picky vegetarian, if the guide knows this than she can kind of stick to safer things. Most of what we ate was vegetarian (unless you are vegan) so it might work out for you after all – especially if you like cheese!

  8. I want to go back to Europe so bad! My bf and I backpacked it for a month and a half back in 2011 but we were such broke backpackers that we missed out on a lot of pricier stuff, like eating all the delish food Europe has to offer. I’m definitely going back just to eat tons of food!

    1. @Chelsea, we ate at bakeries and delis and even a kebab shop in Florence and my hubby and I love to do farmer’s markets – tons of ways to eat cheap – but hear ya, it is nice to splurge too!

  9. Amazing food! I discovered parma ham, dough balls and olive oil whilst in Florence in 2005 and have loved that as a starter ever since.

  10. i am dying to go to italy – maybe next year!! we love casual food that are distinctly local! thank you for the preview! =)

    1. @Ananda, I hope you get there. Nothing better than eating simple, local fare. Sure fancy restos are nice too, but I really love find small places that locals love, visiting delis and farmers markets to really eat like locals.

  11. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and after seeing and reading about your experience it makes me want to visit more.

    1. @Amby, that traveling spirit, it is hard to satisfy, but when you get to get out there and explore, there is nothing better!

  12. It sounds like the food definitely redeemed itself, and I’m glad. I hate being let down during a trip. Everything looks so delicious!

    1. @Jessica, oh it did! And there is still a few dishes we didn’t get to try…so I am thinking another trip is in order!

  13. This is such a great post! your photos are amazing and everything sounds delicious!! I pinned this as I’d never hear of context travel and think it’s a great way to travel!!! Gosh you make flourance sound so tasty. when i was there i mostly remember the museums and the sites!

    1. @Liv, I have gone on a ton of Context Tours in London, Paris, Kyoto and Italy and cannot recommend them enough, they are awesome. That have tours in some US cities as well.

    1. @Jemma, what do you like most about Florence? I love the how much is packed into such a small city and how tourist and locals co-exist…the touristy spots are also the local spots!

    1. @Neely, bread huh?! Well too each his own, I can’t resist a good baguette, but I am loving that really prime beef too!

  14. It’s so crazy that your trip in 2007, the food wasn’t as good! Thank goodness the experience was different this time around!

    1. @Carly, we must have been knocked in the head in 2007, because it was all there waiting for us to find. We made the mistake of going to some places that are really just meant for tourists when we should have just wandered around into nearly any other place!

  15. Oh I love Italy it one of my favourite places, mainly because of the food. It’s great you went back a second time and experienced the amazing food 🙂

  16. I am seriously so jealous!! I’ve never been to Europe and I’m dying to go. Maybe when my kids are a little older and I can leave them here 😉 hahaa you have me drooling and it’s only 7 am!!

  17. Nevere been to florence but i am close enough to go and if/when i do i want to experience it all. looks like a great adventure

  18. Oh my gosh, I’m drooling!!! This looks so good – the dutch are very similar with their simplicity and organics! I wish we were more like that in the states!

  19. This is FANTASTIC! I loved Florence, but definitely would like to revisit and experience it through their food. I never knew of such tours but bookmarking this definitely for my anniversary next year. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  20. A wine drive-thru?! That’s amazing! I love your blog!
    I’ve been to Florence over 15 years ago. It was a brief stop. I don’t think we even had food. It was extremely beautiful though and I look forward to going back.

  21. Sounds delightful! I can’t wait to visit. We haven’t made our way back to Europe for a long time now. Must change that.

  22. All’Antico Vinaio was reported by a friend of mine to be the best restaurant is Florence. I wish I could visit in the future.

    1. @Mai, I have a friend who said the same, but only after I left Florence for Paris, so now it is on the list for NEXT time!