Archives For Florence

Florence Market

At the market with Paolo.


Have you ever dreamed the Italian dream? Waking up, let’s say in Florence, on a Saturday morning; taking a stroll to the local market to buy fresh produce; making fresh pasta with your own hands; having an aperitivo with friends before sitting down to enjoy the fruits of your culinary labours?

Last week, I was lucky enough to have been invited to live this experience in the capable hands of Eating Europe Food Tours and the Florence Food Studio at their cooking school in the authentic Santo Spirito quarter of the city. You may remember that last year I reviewed their excellent Other Side of Florence tour.

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calcio storico

Florentine Calcio Storico


Last week I was invited by Eating Italy Food Tours to take part in their new guided tour, The Other Side of Florence. The tour covers two quarters of the Oltrarno area, San Frediano and Santo Spirito on the southern side of the river, and area not usually visited by tourists despite their proximity to the city centre. Most people cross the river only to visit the Pitti Palace, or Brancacci Chapel before returning to the bright lights of the northern side of the river. But in the Oltrarno area you find the real Florence: an area which has surprisingly managed to avoid gentrification to retain its character.

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This recipe is from Tuscany.




Arista is one of the great classics of Tuscan cuisine. People often assume that, considering it is consists of roast pork loin, the name is related to the Italian arrosto, meaning roast. The truth couldn’t be more different and, as with most Italian dishes, there’s a story. Here it is, as told by Pellegrino Artusi—you must know who he is by now, so I’m going to stop telling you. If this is your first time on my blog click here.

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Hazelnut, cherry, and chocolate panforte.


This has been a great first year for Chestnuts and Truffles and I would like to thank each and every one of you who has visited, read, liked, shared, or commented on the site. I can promise you that 2016 will be an even better year with lots of authentic Italian recipes, how tos, reviews, and videos to come. I only started this blog in the spring but its been very successful already, achieving amongst other things the blue badge of approval from the Tuscan Tourist Board, which you can see on the right. And, if you’ve not seen it already, I’d like to draw your attention to the recipe for Hazelnut, cherry, and chocolate panforte which I created for their blog Tuscanycious! and which is pictured above.

This period is known as capodanno (head of the year) in Italy, and tonight Italians up and down the peninsula will be eating zampone or cotechino (types of sausage made with pigs trotter) with lentils, which are a sign of good luck and affluence for the year to come (the lentils represent coins).

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my top five posts for 2015 and then to tell you what was the most memorable thing I’ve eaten this year.

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Florence Cathedral visible through the Christmas decorations.

Florence Cathedral visible through the Christmas decorations.


The magic of Florence is legendary. The city, with its red-tiled roofs fills the wide valley of the river Arno, straddled by the ponte vecchio, literally paved with gold shops. The enormous cupola of the duomo, also red-tiled, has given Florence one of the most recognized skylines in the world, to rival, Paris, London, New York, but it’s a renaissance skyline—how precious.

Most tourists regard Florence as a hot city, where the art-filled arcade of the Piazza della Signoria provides welcome shade for the consumption of gelato, and where the breezes skipping up the river Arno from the sea offer respite from the ninety-degree heat.

In the winter, however, Florence is a cold city, and at this time, with fewer tourists, and much shorter queues at the Uffizi gallery, it can be a Christmas treat in itself.

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