Lampredotto and Florentine tripe
Florentine cuisine is perhaps one of the best known in the Mediterranean, rich with strong, bold flavours and recipes that have been passed down the generations.
There are five basic ingredients that are the undisputed kings of the table for every true Florence native: Tuscan bread (known as pane sciapo, Tuscan for “silly”, unsalted bread), the base for many traditional recipes, such as ribollita, pappa al pomodoro or panzanella; extra virgin olive oil; wine, red wine in particular; meat (beef, pork and game) and entrails, the cheaper cuts of beef.
It is the latter that are the best-loved and most common culinary specialties to be eaten by Florentine natives and tourists alike. Peasant dishes that best describe the history and tradition of a multifaceted city like Florence.
One of these is beef tripe, cut into strips and sautéed with tomato sauce and served with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.
Other entrails that hold an important place are lampredotto. Perhaps still more representative of traditional Florentine cuisine than tripe. Lampredotto is taken from the final section of the cow's digestive apparatus, the abomasum. It includes a lean part, called gala, characterized by purple ridges, and a more fatty part called the spannocchia.
If you are curious to try these typical dishes, you will be spoiled for choice: in Florence, "trippa" and "lampredotto" - tripe and lampredotto sellers - are still common in their kiosks or vans, skillfully preparing these traditional dishes to sell in the piazzas and at the markets. Locals eat them as a sandwich, as street food, and served with green or hot sauce.
Florentine trattorias serve not only lampredotto and tripe, but also the very best of traditional cuisine, from crostini with liver, to ribollita, and Florentine steak. Then there are fried brains. Not for the squeamish, this is a dish prepared using calves’ brains cooked in boiling water for a few minutes, trimmed, dipped in batter and fried in plenty of extra virgin olive oil.