Category Archives: Italian Foods & Restaurants

Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour

Florence may not be the capital city or the business hub, but it is the pulsing heart of Tuscany and central Italy.

Recently being mentioned the New York Times ‘Where to go in Florence’ gives the reader insight into the revamped area of San Lorenzo sharing a list of new restaurants, caffès and gelati parlours that are stylish and geared to locals and tourists alike.

Since the opening of the new  of the top floor of the Central Market ‘Mercato Centrale’ in 2014 – the San Lorenzo neighbourhood has had a considerable make over. Gone are a lot of the market stalls making it easy to access the Mercato Centrale without too many distractions.

A great way to explore this area is to do a Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour for a morning in the San Lorenzo area.

Prepare yourself to have all of your senses heightened and ignited on the Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour.  Your guide will give you a detailed history into the central market where you will start off with a tour of the new first floor of the market for a coffee or cappucino and some time to browse the various shops working up an appetite.

The real Italian food market experience awaits you downstairs where the shops upstairs, local restaurants and Florentines come to buy only the freshest ingredients brought in before dawn from local producers.  Enjoy the vibrant, lively market experience with tastings of speciality products such as wild boar prosciutto, pecorino sheep cheese and fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.

After the market tour you will visit a more refined gourmet food shop and learn about what staple produce is used for traditional Tuscan recipes.  You will have time to purchase unique gourmet gifts to take back home.  At the end of your Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour you will be accompanied to a local trattoria where you can dine on the traditional Tuscan dishes you have encountered during the morning.

What better way to explore the traditional Italian market with a local food expert getting to know local vendors and shop owners who take pride in guaranteeing only the very best, local fresh produce.

Michele Berlendis joins MaMa Florence as the resident Chef


MaMa Florence
is excited to announce the arrival of Michele Berlendis as the new resident chef.

Michele was born and grew up in Tuscany where he attended hotel school and during the weekends worked in a restaurant in his local town, where his passion for the kitchen was born.

His first significant experience in the kitchen was working with chef Filippo Saporito, who he considers his maestro. Together at ‘La Leggenda dei Frati’ Restaurant Michele refined his skill and experience.

He then moved to Berlin where he lived for many years working in the best Italian restaurant in the city ‘Boccadibacco’ . Also ,collaboration with other chef friends , ran the successful ‘Caffe Pfoertner’.

Michele’s approach to cooking is dynamic, he is passionate about experimenting with simple flavours and tastes reinterpreting them with imagination and flair.

Returning to Italy after the birth of his daughter, together with his partner they ran a restaurant in Umbria on an organic farm. During his time managing the restaurant Michele learnt to appreciate the importance of freshly grown produce and it’s seasonality.

Michele is now settled in Florence and is excited to share what he has learnt with the guests of MaMa Florence. He looks forward to teaching and sharing his personal experiences with those keen to learn some traditional Italian recipes, ready to try them  back home again for friends and family.

MaMa Florence offers a variety of cooking courses from Pasta, Pizza, Vegetarian, Meat, Fish, Desserts and more.
Sign up for one of our courses at www.mamaflorence.com

Tasting Amalfi Coast, Campania- Cheese!

Aged Provolone del Monaco

Le Baccanti travels near and far tasting the finest, traditional Italian foods so that we know exactly where we want to send our clients who desire a unique gourmet vacation. Recently, we spent time in the Amalfi Coast in the region of Campania where we took a group of our very special VIP clients for an exclusive sneak peak into rustic, artisan cheese making. We discovered how fior di latte fresh mozzarella, ricotta and another cheese called Provolone del Monaco.


Fior di Latte is a type of mozzarella cheese that has a higher moisture content, made from fresh (lightly) pasteurized milk. It differs from normal mozzarella because it is softer, more “milky” and has a lower fat content than regular mozzarella which is best for cooking (think pizza.)

Making Ricotta on the Amalfi Coast

Ricotta is Italian for “re-cooked” so it is the protein rich milk curds that are then cooked again in a series of fermentation and whey acidification. Originally, ricotta served as a sort of peasant food since it was technically the leftovers from noble cheese production and high in nourishing proteins.

Provolone del Monaco is a sort of provolone cheese made from the milk of a special race of cow agerolese. The cheese has a very particular piquant flavor due to it’s semi-hard style which is aged for a minimum of 4 months and can be quite sharp.

Interested in tasting cheese in the Amalfi Coast? Visiting cheese makers and watching them make it right in front of you? Taste incredible Amalfi Coast gourmet cheeses listed above but also gourmet goodies like limoncello, extra virgin olive oil, gelato and pizza on Le Baccanti’s Amalfi Coast Gourmet Tour! Discover the delicious side of Sorrento with the exclusive food and wine experts from Le Baccanti Tours.

Top 5 Michelin starred restaurants in Tuscany Italy

The Michelin guide is a series of annual guide travel books that have been in production for over 100 years, and the guide is followed more notably for high quality restaurants and are a trusted go-to for seekers of authentic fine dining. Stars are given to only a select few fine dining restaurants to what is termed “Michelin starred restaurants.” There are several factors which the panel for the Michelin guide abide by when assigning stars to restaurants. The chefs have to have an immaculate history in culinary technique and providing the best experience possible to diners of high profile. A gain or loss of a Michelin start can either dramatically improve or crush the success of any restaurant involved. When traveling to Italy, most travelers prefer the consistency and guarantee of dining at a Michelin starred restaurant but also seek the pampering luxury involved in the experience. When choosing a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, you are guaranteed exquisite cuisine from the country’s finest chefs and a mind-boggling selection of the country’s greatest wines ever produced in their very prestigious and safe guarded wine cellars. If you are looking where the best restaurants are for unforgettable cuisine and truly special wines, here are the top 5 Michelin starred restaurants we have tried, sent our clients to and highly recommend in Tuscany Italy:

from google

TAVARNELLE VAL DI PESA

1. Osteria di Passignano (1 star)

A elegant mix of modern and traditional Tuscan cuisine. This Michellin starred restaurant has the luxury of an enchanting location that overlooks the Chianti countryside. Osteria di Passignano is ideal in Spring, Summer and early Fall so you can dine outside on their lovely terrace. Located beside a historical abbey and church to explore after your meal. On site there are late nineteenth-century cellars of the Marquises of Antinori- the most renowned wine producers of nobility in Tuscan history.

Address: Via Passignano, 33, 50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (Florence) Phone:055 807 1278

FLORENCE

2. Enoteca Pinchiorri (3 stars)

One of Florence‘s temples of gourmet dining conveniently located in the historical center, this elegant Michelin starred restaurant is most renowned for its legendary wine list ideal for all Italian wine enthusiasts traveling to Florence. The chef specializes in modern Tuscan cuisine and the regional products serve as the inspiration for Enoteca Pinchiorri’s highly skillful, imaginative and innovative cuisine.

Address: Via Ghibellina 87 I – 50122 Florence, Italy Phone 055242777  E-mail: ristorante@enotecapinchiorri.com website: http://www.enotecapinchiorri.com

from google

3. Il Palagio (1 star)

Il Palagio is a classic Tuscan Michelin starred restaurant located at The Four Seasons hotel in Florence. Il Palagio is addorned with majestic chandeliers of this high-vaulted ceiling palace-like restaurant housed in the old Palazzo della Gherardesca. The venue prides itself in high-end, attentive service, as well as deliciously eclectic cuisine created by the talented chef Vito Mollica. This chef is also a dear professional friend of Le Baccanti and our wine expert Filippo Bartolotta, so we guarantee also their fine wine selection.

Address: Borgo Pinti 99 I – 50121 Florence, Italy Phone +300552626450 E-mail firenze@fourseasons.com Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/florence

4. Ora D’Aria (1 star)

Ora d’Aria offers a modern, creative spin on Tuscan cuisine with Michelin starred status. The young Tuscan chef at this restaurant expresses his expertise acquired in some of the Tuscany’s most famous restaurants. He makes full use of Tuscany‘s local and seasonal products, delighting diners with exceptional flavors of the land. The menu is well respected for its specialties in selection of fish and game dishes. The lunch menù and tasting menù are quite affordable for every level of traveler desiring a Michelin starred dining experience in Florence, Italy.

Address: Via de’ Georgofili 11/13 r I – 50122 Florence, Italy. Phone 0552001699 E-mail prenotazioni@oradariaristorante.com Website: http://www.oradariaristorante.com

LIVORNO

Chef Zazzeri with Le Baccanti on the road in America

5. La Pineta (1 star)

Also a Le Baccanti favorite as we have a very good rapport with the chef Luciano Zazzeri. We have travelled with Zazzeri to do Italy at Your Table events in the U.S. at very prestigious locations including The Metropolitan Museum in New York! La Pineta is located on the seafront and has an unprecedented fine reputation in seafood with a stunning view on the Livorno coast along with unforgettable wines. Perfect for those traveling to the Super Tuscan Wine region and to Livorno. If you are looking to take a Super Tuscan Wine Tour, contact us to book you in at La Pineta.

Address Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord 27 I – 57020 Marina di Bibbona Phone +390586600016 E-mail ristorantelapineta@hotmail.it NO WEBSITE

Traveling to Tuscany and looking for a unique vacation? Contact us– we can plan every detail for the highest quality Italian vacation imaginable.