Photo by: Fine Dining Lovers / Stanley Tucci's portrait by Daniel Krieger /
In episode 5 of the hit CNN travel show Stanley Tucci; Searching for Italy, our protagonist stops by Tuscany, the cultural heartland of the country, to the birthplace of the Renaissance and of Dante, father of the modern Italian language.
The food of Tuscany is hearty, heavy in oil and rich with deep, baseline flavours. In Searching for Italy, Tucci goes on a wine bar crawl around Florence and samples the region's robust reds and crisp whites. He also has a taste of charcuterie and steak, and takes a look at the peasant food of the people who worked the land for thousands of years.
The Florentine steak is the Tuscan cut that more or less resembles a T-bone. Served on the bone, and usually medium rare, the Florentine is the king in a country we don’t necessarily associate with steaks. Chef Fabio Picchi brings Tucci to "the liveliest market in Florence" - Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio - to shop for bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Fine Dining Lovers visited Tuscany’s own Dario Cecchini, known as the best butcher in Italy, and got all his tips and tricks for cooking the best steak Florentine. Whether you want to cook the steak on the barbecue over flames, or cook in the pan in your kitchen, there’s an art to getting the best out of a beef steak and these tips can up your steak game considerably.
Have a look at the method for cooking the perfect steak, from fillet and sirloin, to T-bone and Florentine, cooked by the best Michelin-star chefs in the business, from Ramsay to Heston, you’ll never overcook a steak again.
Tucci joins with Professor Elisabetta Digiugno on a visit to cocktail bar Babae, the bistro that offers wine through its Renaissance-era 'wine window'.The small openings for serving wine, called 'buchette del vino', were developed during the time of the Black Death in order to allow safe street drinking.
With its endless rolling vineyards and an ancient tradition of viticulture, Tuscany can lay claim to some of the best wines in the world. A good part of this episode is dedicated to Tuscan wine and how it is part of the regions food culture.
To finish the wine window tour, Tucci and Digiugno use the typical dessert wine, Vin Santo, with cantucci or almond biscuits, a dessert that ends every meal in Tuscany – Tucci cantucci.
Historian Leonardo Romanelli brings Tucci to Florence's Mercato Centrale to explain the concept of ‘cucina povera,’ or poor food, starting with beans, an economical and surprisingly delicious staple of Tuscany. Tucci visits Osteria Cinghiale Bianco, one of his favourite Florence restaurants, to sample some of its traditional cuisine, including ribollita.
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