Welcome to CiboChat!

CiboChat is the Food and Culture blog of FUA Florence University of the Arts. This blog project reflects our aim to share the cultural and especially gastronomic experiences of our students, faculty, staff, and Florentine locals. Check out our Florentine Food Guide for how to dine like a local!

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Blog

Pizzeria Il Vico del Carmine

Review by Lindsay Antaya, Janine Schwendemann, Charlotte Smith, William Gildea and Andrew Brazel
Our group had a wonderful experience dining at Vico del Carmine. Before our meal, we were excited to attend a pizzeria as it is a favorite dish and a bit more casual. We made reservations online based on recommendations from past customers, and were happy that we did not need to wait for a table. The restaurant was busy but not overcrowded, so the reservation was not necessary when we went. Located across the river, the pizzeria was filled with locals, which we enjoyed. Upon arrival, the wait staff was friendly and we felt welcomed despite being American students. It was a little further than what we are used to, but it was nice to see that side of Florence.
The menu of this establishment is dedicated to creating Neapolitan-style dishes, and the speciality is undoubtedly the pizza. The menu did include other traditional dishes however, such as spaghetti with seafood, and gnocchi with clams. To start, we ordered the cheese dish with salami and honey. Everything tasted extremely fresh, especially the cheese. The honey was also tasty and several group members thought it was the best honey they’ve had in Florence. For our main courses, we ordered two pizzas to split amongst the table. First, we got the Margarita co “Piennolo,” which was similar to regular margarita pizza but with fresh tomatoes. We were able to observe that the pizzas made at this restaurant are cooked in a wood-fired oven, which resulted in a soft crust, a classic characteristic of authentic, Neapolitan style pizza. We also got the Four Stagioni pizza, which had tomatoes, ham, mozzarella, mushrooms, and fish. The fish was extremely fresh, and our group was surprised by how much we enjoyed this dish. To drink, we got a bottle of the house white wine which was sensibly priced, yet was still great quality.
Overall, the establishment was amazing and we fully recommend this place to anyone looking for a more casual place to dine, that still serves authentic pizza with the freshest ingredients. All of the staff is very friendly, willing go out of their way to accommodate you, while serving some of the most authentic-style pizzas in Florence.

Pizzeria Il Vico del Carmine
Address: Via Pisana 40/r
Tel.: 055 233 6862
Hours: Daily dinner 7:30pm – Midnight; Sundays Lunch 12:45pm – 2:45pm

Bite Size Me

By Mary Claire Ickes and Stephen Gargas
In 2004, Morgan Spurlock’s film “Super Size Me” became a popular topic of discussion among dietitians, fast food fans, and education professionals in America.Spurlock ate McDonald’s fast food for 30 days and filmed his experience. Viewers marvel and gasp in disgust as Morgan Spurlock struggles to eat only McDonald’s, even at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. “Super Size Me” inspired the culinary students of Apicius School of Hospitality to take their menu to the next level. The culinary students were inspired to recreate the typical fast food burger. Their vegan hamburger was made with beets, lentils, and other vegetables. The natural dye from the beats bleeds through the lentils recreating a meat-look before it has hit the grill. Compared to fast food, this bite size happy meal took 2 hours to prepare the buns, lentils, and assemble the look. I would say it is worth the wait!

When at a fast food restaurant, one orders the sandwich and then the “combo” – fries and drink. The phrase “Super Size Me” is to get the large fries and the large drink. What vegan burger and chicken wings would be complete without a sidekick?  The third chef of the night dehydrated potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables to remove the excess oils. After creating a potato “chip”, he fried the vegetables to give a fry texture without the famous fast food grease. 
The next chef in the trio had something for all the KFC and Chick-Fil-A fans. The student chef deboned chicken wings creating an inner pocket for the flavor. Using celery, carrots, onions and other vegetables – she created a stuffing. After taking a bite, I thought I was at the dinner table for Thanksgiving. Her thoughtfulness and precision took her 2 hours to debone, cook down the stuffing, and eventually stuff. The flavor was all there with the outside having a juicy quality with a little crunch. After experiencing Ganzo’s bize sized take on fast food, I am convinced Director Morgan Spurlock would not mind eating solely Ganzo for 30 days. I know I wouldn’t!

Cooking shows: From past to present


By: Rachel Goodwin & Jamie Williamson
From as early as the medieval times, food has been a way to show a family’s wealth, style, and general wellbeing. Food can be used to entertain, dazzle, or even can be used simply as a means of survival. Today, individuals travel the world to try foods from different cultures. However, it is easier than ever to prepare international dishes from the comfort on one’s own home due to the overwhelming amount of cooking shows, books, and blogs available to the general public.
Cooking shows got their start on the radio, transitioning to television in the 1940s. The first televised cooking show in the world was in the United Kingdom, aired on BBC on Wednesday June 12, 1946. This program was called “cookery” and was only ten minutes long, where the chef in the first episode made lobster. In the beginning of cooking TV shows, they were often used to promote rationing-friendly meals during WWII. Now, cooking shows range from competitions, to how to videos, to even creating extravagant and specialty meals and cakes for display. Cooking shows have even started to move off television and into individual’s everyday lives through the internet. There are many companies showing short “how to” style videos for recipes on blogs and social media websites. Some individuals may watch these shows and videos to learn how to cook the dish, while many watch for the art form that is cooking. Beautifully created dishes can both be pleasing to the eye and stomach, and it is mesmerizing to watch a chef create these stunning dishes.

Raffaella Galamini Visited Us!

By Carly Eggers
In our class discussion with visitor Raffaella, we learned first hand what a food journalist is all about. Throughout her career she has worked with various newspapers but currently writes for Agrodolce, 2Night, Lungarno, Courier Extra-Vivi Firenze and Toscana. These websitesrepresent articles that are about food,events and top restaurants to visit. These blogs, posts and articles successfully keep up with the customer expectations today. In this world today everyone is reaching out to the internet to search the best restaurants. Whether it be reading the reviews, searching for the best pizza, or a local food event people are constantly thinking of food. We are constantly looking up recipes as well as trying new places that adhere to our palette. If we want to have an option of take away, we can search which places have that option. Desert, lunch, dinner, and drinks are all options on these websites so that you can have the best experience no matter what meal or beverage. Reading blogs and posts about local restaurants in your area will help explore your options while getting your moneys worth. Whether you are on vacation or want to get immersed in your local culture you can always search to see whats happening around you. Food is such a big part of our culture. We are on a new trend of blogging about it and sharing the top places to eat. Making it so accessible to anyone who wants recommendations or the best of the best is an important aspect of today’s society.

BURNT!

By: Morgan Duncan and Sam Eberly
When we walked into Ganzo, we were both pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere and decor of the restaurant. It was cool and casual and a great place to have conversations with new faces. We had the pleasure of meeting with one of the chefs, Lorenzo. He took us step by step through the select dishes that would be served to Table 21. We were informed that the theme of that particular night was “Burnt”, a movie about a chef trying to obtain a Michelin star. With this theme came creative dishes, including different takes on the literal word of “burnt.” Poached molo over toasted bread, smoked and cured salmon with purple carrot, and chicken brined and grilled served over roasted potatoes.
All of these dishes were excellent and very creative. We each ordered the seasonal fruit mojito and both enjoyed it immensely. It was very sweet and tart, but just the right amount; delicious. We even asked some of the guests at Table 21 what they thought of the whole experience. They each enjoyed the theme and were very interested in it. One gentlemen ordered the Negroni, which was actually what the chef, himself recommended.
Along with the dishes specialized for Table 21, there were also traditional Italian aperitivo dishes for both Table 21 and the entire restaurant. Some of them included prosciutto, salami, ham, pasta dishes, chicken salad, pizza, cheese, salads with pears and walnuts, and more. All of this food was open for the entire restaurant and was constantly being changed. There was also a choice of either a glass of wine or a cocktail with your meal. Some of the cocktails included mojitos, Moscow mules, aperol spritz, and negroni.
The atmosphere of the kitchen itself was somewhat hectic, the flow of all the chefs and workers seemed to be frantic in the beginning of the night. However, once more people began to come into the restaurant, the pace of the cooking sped up tremendously, showing that they could work as a team. About an hour into opening of the restaurant, the entire place was packed. There were a ton of tables inside and outside as well. The atmosphere of the outside area was very nice because you were close to the action of the kitchen, as well as enjoying the outside air. The atmosphere of Table 21 was relaxed and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The entire table was full and everyone was talking to one another. It seemed to be a place where the faculty could enjoy their friends in a relaxed and fun environment.


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