Last week I was in Florence and had the pleasure of having lunch with 6 other Florentines who work in the same field as I do.
We had lunch in a place called Sweet Wine Bar which was just outside the center of Florence but was a typical Florentine restaurant. The owner was our waiter and was very friendly, showing us to our table and then proceeding to tell us all about the specials. Luckily I was with some Italians who could translate for me, although speaking Spanish, some of the menu choices were easier to understand than others.
Florentines really do take their one hour lunch break, it is rare to see them eat at their desk in front of their computers as they do in the UK and the US. As it was a special occasion (I was interviewing them for State of Search), we had about a 2 hour lunch.
This is a very typical dish eaten in Florence, called Coccoli with parma ham, Stracchino cheese and fried bread. One eats it on small pieces of bread or coccoli as a primi plati. It was cool and refreshing especially as it was in the late 30s outside and I am not used to the heat.
The main course or secondi plati (in Italy) was Rigatoni pasta with bacon, mushrooms and zucchini in a light creamy sauce. Home made with fresh ingredients, it was delicious. I certainly was not hungry after that but we did have a small dessert that we shared.
In Italy you normally have cappuccino in the morning, never after lunch, but I can use the excuse that I am from London and we drink cappuccino at any time. Although if I lived here, I would need to get used to drinking espressos.
I ate very well in Florence and in Italy in general. I better start my exercise regime when I get back to London tomorrow. I have a month to get in shape for my sister’s wedding!