Fashion and top cuisine in Florence have been a winning combination for quite some time. It is known that Florence is traditionally a city of fashion. In fact, Gucci, Cavalli, Pucci, Ricci and Ferragamo were all born here. Also the first fashion show in Italy took place at Palazzo Pitti in 1951.
In addition to Gucci (see blog of 5 May 2018) Ferragamo also has a museum with the history of Salvatore who emigrated to America and came back as the shoemaker of the stars from Marylin to Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot. They also have some hotels around Ponte Vecchio with windows overlooking the Arno and terraces overlooking Brunelleschi’s dome.
They got the Michelin star at Borgo San Jacopo, the restaurant of the Lungarno Hotel.. Everything happened as soon as the chef Peter Brunel arrived from Trentino with delicate ways and a wide smile. Above all, a man with golden hands, with whom he prepares exploded dishes to distinguish every ingredient and every consistency.
Buttons filled with snail and liquid potato with asparagus or quinoa salad with raw vegetables, cooked in brine, purees and sprouts. They are just a few millimeters of leaves, flower petals, creamy drops that Brunel makes with tweezers. Forget the chef with the ladle and the cylinder on his head. Now they use the beautician‘s tools. “We must always experiment” explains Brunel. “Can you imagine if Ferrari produced the Testarossa like it used to 30 years ago? If it wants to remain a myth it must evolve. It must have the most innovative engine, materials and fittings on the market. So it must be the kitchen: traditional but at the same time also up to date”.
Brunel is so versatile that he also takes care of the Picteau bistro menu where he proposes a very Tuscan “pappa al pomodoro” with crumbs of pure gold bread and a vegetarian burger so tasty that one does not regret that of Chianina.
Florence has in all 9 Michelin Stars. Taken 3 out of the Enoteca Pinchiorri by Annie Féolde, the other 6 are for different restaurants. They are often found in restaurants in luxury hotels such as the St Regis in Piazza Ognissanti. Here we find the Winter Garden by Caino. Directed by Valeria Piccini and Michele Griglio’s execution for a cuisine of Tuscan seasonal ingredients, with dishes understandable at first sight.
They look simple and chef Valeria willingly gives her recipes. But you should not get into fits of anger if they do not succeed! “Certain dishes cannot be done without professional techniques and tools”. Other recipes are always feasible and Valeria teaches hers at the Mama Florence cooking school.
A whole other atmosphere and thought can be found at the Westin Florence, the 5-star hotel opposite and same Marriott group. The Sesto On Arno restaurant is a glazed rooftop with a view of the Duomo, the rooftops, the towers and the countryside. “When I arrive in the morning and see this show with the ancient towers and the Duomo I really think that Florence was in the Renaissance the navel of the world.
Even then there was the problem of the brain drain when Catherine de Medici married the king of France. So it was that she brought Florentine cooks and pastry chefs with her. That was how the foundations of French haute cuisine were laid. ” In these words there is all the inspiration of Matteo Lorenzini, a good 30-year-old chef with clear ideas. Matteo studies and draws inspiration from the thirteenth century “Ricettario Anonimo Toscano” where there are already combinations such as his crab, scallops and lettuce.
credits “La Cucina Italiana” 1 march 2018