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!


TuttoToscana - James Beard Foundation

Menu Close-up: 2016 JBF Dinner – The Medici Table

JBF 2016 Menu Closeup

By Samantha Lucenti

With this year being FUA’s 12th consecutive year being invited to the James Beard Foundation, the menu was decided to be a tribute to the Medici family. The Medici’s dynasty dominated the Italian and European political scene from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Medici family contributed to the cultural and artistic innovations to Florence and also witnessed the birth of the Renaissance and significant scientific discoveries.

This menu created by our brigade has tied each course to a Palazzo or villa and the unique traits and flavors of the related territory. Each course is paired with a wine from the region and a different bread as well. The aperitivo is compiled of a Tuscan carabaccia soup, cinque e cinque with shrimp tartare, a coastal street food originated from Livorno, deep fried crespelle nests with Parmigiano Reggiano, white bean and pecorino frittata, and ricotta stuffed with smoked leeks and dehydrated prosciutto. And these are paired with Vermentino di Sardegna and Sauvignon Blanc from Macari vineyards.

The Antipasto is a tribute to our beloved Palazzo Pitti, located in the heart of Florence it was the granducal residence of the Medici and contains the beautiful Boboli Gardens. From this we are serving a “Boboli Garden” Renaissance-style salad with mixed field greens, pecorino, capers, anchovies, sultana raisins, walnuts, and olives with Pruneti extra virgin olive oil foam and citrus tomato drops. Azienda Agricola Pruneti is a Tuscan producer of the extra virgin olive oil used in this dish. And paired with Barco Reale di Carmignano D.O.C.

The Primo is a ricotta and black cabbage gnudi served on a light Corzano and Paterno pecorino, garlic, and sage sauce and is in tribute to Scarperia e San Piero, a fortress-like castle that was first to be commissioned by the Medici family. The pecorino pays homage to the Mugello area’s pasture and cheesemaking traditions. The second Primo is a rustic borlotti bean, farro, and mushroom soup that is based off of Barberino di Mugello which is another medieval Medici villa located in the Mugello area. These primos are paired with Lastricato, Chianti Rufina Riserva D.O.C.G. from Castello del Trebbio.
The secondo is Anatra all’arancia which is in tribute to Artinimo, Carmignano where the Medici used their villa for their passion for hunting and game. This dish consists of a duck thigh, breast, foie gras, celeriac and chestnuts, honey and candied orange zest, dressed with drops of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena DOP. This is paired with Villa di Capezzana, Carmignano D.O.C.G.

The Pre dolce is a honey rosemary mousse with pine nut crumbles in a lingue di gatto shell. Where the vin santo is also used in the cookies. This is fashioned towards the Camugliano villa that reflects the Medici western-bound expansion towards Pisa.

The main Dolce is a contemporary Spongata cake with orange candy and pine nuts, where the taste of it is identical to the classic version but the look and shape of it has a contemporary twist.  And this is paired with the Vin Santo del Chianti, D.O.C Castello del Trebbio.

To finish the night there are an array of cookies and petit fours such as ricciarelli, a seasonal cookie of Florence, biscotti di Prato, ovis mollis, the oldest cookies in Tuscany, and anicioni, an older biscotti with anise seeds instead of almonds.


Photo by David Weiss

Wine Sponsor: Castello Del Trebbio

castello del trebbio

By Gabriella Torcise

A look at another one of our wine sponsors for Saturday’s JBF dinner.

Castello Del Trebbio was created in 1184 by the famous Pazzi family of Florence. Their history is deeply rooted in Florentine culture, with a huge conspiracy looming over the family. In 1478 the Pazzi family did not like the Medici family ruling Florence and believed that if the time came, the Florentine people would follow the Pazzi family rather than the Medici, so they took action. They attempted to kill and de-throne Lorenzo de’ Medici, but the attempt failed and they killed his brother. The Medici, in a calculated decision, retaliated in what they believed to be reasonable, and killed the entire Pazzi family. This winery showcases beautifully made wines true to their terroir and history, and are renowned for their elegance and structure. The winery has a longstanding relationship with FUA and we are proud to feature a wine so intertwined into Tuscany history.

The Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva, Lastricato and Vin Santo del Chianti, D.O.C will be served at Saturday’s JBF dinner.


TuttoToscana Brigade Profiles: Baking and Pastry Part 1

By Brenna Boone, Samantha Lucenti and Gabriella Torcise

Get to know the 2016 TuttoToscana brigade! We start with part 1 of our Baking and Pastry students.

Auðbjörg Jörundsdóttir

Auðbjörg Jörundsdóttir – Iceland

Auðbjörg Jörundsdóttir was born and raised in Iceland. She grew up on a farm where her family raises horses, and her mother owns her own fishing industry, which provides 1% of the cod imports to the US. She originally attended FUA for Culinary Arts, but fell in love with the Baking & Pastry course and switched over. She is now enrolled in the Master Program and continues to prove herself in her passion for the industry. She hopes to one day open up a restaurant and hotel on her parents’ farm, perhaps first obtaining a business degree to solidify her education.

Cara Liotta

Cara Liotta – USA

Cara Liotta is a member of our pastry team that is a local to New York. She is from Long Island, New York, Farmingdale. She attends Suffolk County Community College and is in their culinary arts program. In her program they require an internship and the students are then allowed to choose if they want to intern at the university, or in Italy; as an FUA alum, clearly, she choose the latter. Throughout TuttoToscana she hopes to learn some new technical skills, learn new recipes, and meet new people. There are many connections that can be made at the events featured in TuttoToscana, and she hopes to take advantage of that. One dish that she is quite excited to make for Saturday’s JBF dinner is the rosemary focaccia. She has made it at home and enjoys making and eating this recipe. In the future, Cara would love to own her own restaurant. Her father and her have dreamed about owning their own pizzeria/bakery and she wants to make that dream into a reality! When she isn’t in the kitchen, she enjoys bowling. Growing up, she was even on a high school bowling team! She also loves outdoor activities. She enjoys camping, hiking, and walking her dog outdoors. Overall Cara is very excited for the new experience that TuttoToscana will be, and can’t wait to see how all of the dinners, and dishes turn out.

Lynn Patterson

Lynn Patterson – USA

Lynn Patterson is another local member to New York. She is from West Babylon, Long Island. She got connected with FUA during her internship program at Suffolk County Community College, where she got the change to study abroad in Italy. She hopes to complete the masters program that is offered at FUA. She got her interest in pastry because she has always worked with the savory end of cooking. She wanted to expand her area of interest and return to school to complete FUA’s one-year Career Certificate program in Baking and Pastry arts. During TuttoToscana, she hopes to learn even more about the culture and tradition of Italian baking and cuisine through this program. She enjoys learning about more in-depth research and recipes of Italian baking. After she is done at TuttoToscana she does hope to peruse a career in baking and pastry arts. Outside of the kitchen, Lynn enjoys going to the beach, church activities, and fundraising to feed the hungry. For TuttoToscana, Lynn is very excited for all the baking and desserts, and most excited about the various desserts that she has had a chance to make before and can perfect here.

Photos by David Weiss

100% Family Owned: A Look at our Tour of Macari Vineyards

Macari Wines

By Gabriella Torcise

Fall is in full swing at the Macari Vineyards. We arrived to a beautifully colored backdrop of yellow, orange and red vines and a warm and welcoming family. The Macari family is passionate, devoted and excited about their wines, and they have all the reasons to be. The tour they took us on gave us an insiders look into the magic we find in their bottles- clean, pure and true grapes. The vineyards are tended to with homegrown fertilizer from their cows, goats and horses. They have more animals than that, adding pigs, chickens, turkeys and geese. The whole family is involved from the start of the vineyard soils to the wine they produce. The wines are carefully blended in such a way that it transforms from a science into an art, and the family comes together as a whole to decide this. It is truly a gorgeous winery with passion, heart and soul dedicated to the vines they produce.


Photo by Gabriella Torcise

Wine Sponsor: Capezzana

Capezzana Wine Sponsor

By Brenna Boone

Capezzana vineyard is one of the wine sponsors that have donated wine to be featured at our final dinner at the James Beard Foundation on October 29th. The history of the grapes at the Capezzana vineyard date back to over 3000 years ago in the pre-Roman era. The vineyard was named in the Roman times and there are written records of the vineyard that date back to 804 A.D..

Olives are also grown at Capezzana and pressed into olive oil. The vineyard has been controlled by a few different Tuscan families including the Biscotti, related to the Madici, and the Marchesi Bourbon del Monte and is currently run by the Bonacossi family. There are two different types of wines from Capezzana vineyards that we will be serving at the dinner on October 29th.

The first is called Barco Reale D.O.C. and is primarily made of Sangiovese grapes. Barco Reale D.O.C. also has Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and a small amount of Cabernet Franc and Canaiolo. The vintage we will be serving is from 2014, but the first vintage dates back to 1984. This wine is fermented in steel tanks as apposed to oak barrels. The wine has a sweet, ample, elegant, and very intense flavor with a fruitiness and light tones of oak. This wine goes very well with most past dishes as well as red and white meats.

The second wine we will be serving from Capezzana vineyards is a 2012 Villa Di Capezzana D.O.C.G.. The first vintage of this wine dates back to1925. This wine is also primarily made up of Sangiovese grapes. There is also a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a deep ruby red color and smells of redness with sweet, fruity, and spicy aromas. Villa Di Capezzana tastes soft and has dense, sweet tannins and a well balanced acidity. All of the wines will be paired with the menu created by faculty and students to showcase the tastes of Tuscany in our final TuttoToscana dinner at the James Beard Foundation.

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