Renovating a kitchen in Florence

I’ve put up with some pretty awful kitchens in my 18 years of renting, particularly in Florence. Most of them called for some inventive improvising and I’m sure in some way or another that I’m a better, or at least more resourceful, cook because of them. There was the one in the studio apartment with a mini bar as a fridge and only one burner, next to the bed. There was the one in a loft over the stairs – only one person could... Read More

The Sicily List: Part II

As promised, following my Sicily List: Part I, here’s Part II: Mount Etna and Ortigia. While we spent most of the time around Noto and Ragusa, Marco had his heart set on visiting Mount Etna’s wine region. We made a break there for the day (a two hour drive up the east coast) to meet the folk at the winery Tenuta delle Terre Nere. I highly recommend visiting at least one winery in this area (Girolamo Russo, Alice Bonaccorsi and Frank... Read More

Lessons from a Florentine market & Fennel salad

“What are you going to do with those?” Asked an elderly woman eyeing the artichokes I held like a bunch of flowers towards the busy fruttivendolo, waiting my turn to pay. There are many reasons why I prefer shopping at the farmers’ market to shopping at the supermarket, and this is just one of them. Each and every visit to my local market in Florence has always been a learning experience. Particularly when this happens. Fellow market goers... Read More

A Taste of Florence

Any food lover is likely going to love to eat their way through Florence, but many of city’s most traditional dishes are probably not what you think they are. The Florentines, like most Italians, have a very important relationship with their cuisine. They have very strict rules about what can be eaten when, with what accompaniments and in what particular order. You can even tell what month of the year it is by looking at a Florentine menu. It is... Read More

Livorno for Foodies

Most people may not know this but Livorno is a great foodie town. It’s only an hour’s drive from Florence but it seems a world away from the Tuscan capital. Historically known as a very open city, it was a duty-free port from the 16th century with an open door policy that allowed its merchant population –made up largely of Jews, Armenians, Dutch, English and Greeks in particular – to flourish. It lost its status as a free port when Italy was... Read More