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

We Love Green!

Spoilt for choice!

By Liz Katsoulis

This week at Ganzo the theme in the kitchen was the color green! Chef Filippo told me the reason behind the theme. Chef Filippo is very passionate about being a chef. He is 30 years old and he is in his last year in the Master’s program at FUA-AUF. Additionally, he is from Pisa. He explained the theme sustainability in the kitchen in order to preserve culture and ingredients. He also explained that this theme goes hand and hand with the Mediterranean diet and represents the idea that you can use vegetables in things other than salad. He also stated that all different vegetables can be used all year round. The first thing I ate was a small sandwich – toast bread base with milk and honey stuffed with pea purée flavored with meat – and pecorino chips seasoned with herbs (including sage, thyme, and rosemary). The next thing I tasted was a summer cabbage and creamy cod roll blended together with water, milk, gelatin and olive oil. It was served atop a crispy jowl-fat sauce, made of concentrated tomato sauce flavored with ginger. Last but not least, I tried the chicken liver mousse with onion, capers and anchovy butter blended with gelatin, whipped cream and set in a mold to create the circular shape. The mousse was served with very lightly candied black-cabbage and celery. My favorite dish was definitely the first one I discussed; it was very refreshing but also buttery and savory. Overall, I thought the green theme was very interesting and very well executed by the Ganzo chefs. 

Italian Tapas Rostobar

Buon appetito!

Review by: Brooke Nastasi, Isabel Napper, Lily Nguyen, Lucia Matteo, Caroline Murray

When our group first approached the tapas restaurant, we thought it was going to be small. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the seating area extended far into the back and was very open. The interior was very modern and had a good aesthetic. The back of the restaurant had a very laid back and mellow atmosphere. The two men sitting at the cash register/bar area were very friendly to all of us when walking in and each said hello. The waitress was very friendly and offered us menus and explained how the restaurant worked, as we were not familiar with a tapas restaurant.
Looking at the menu I was surprised at how inexpensive all the food was. Even though the portion sizes were very small, it was still a great price. We each got 2 dishes each to split between the 5 of us.  Each plate came with two to four small servings and were arranged to look just as good as they tasted. A few things we tried were prosciutto curdo, fresh Tuscan pecorino cheese, riso, patate e cozze, eggplant parmesan, octopus and potatoes, terre del sud, gnocconi ripieni, and a few more things that aren’t on the online menu. The sauces and garnishes that came with some of the plates were for both flavor and presentation. Many of the dishes that were offered at this restaurant appeared to be drawn from traditional Italian dishes, but then had a fun twist, in either the presentation or the unique flavors. We had a good variety of Italian tapas. A few of us got the house white or red wine or a drink homemade by the bartender.
After finishing our meal, we were all very full and happy. We absolutely loved this restaurant and its atmosphere. The food in general is priced very well and the quality of the food is great. We would absolutely recommend this place to all of our friends and we already want to go back and try it again soon.

Risto Bar
Address: Via Sant’Agostino 11/R
Telephone: 055 098 2738
Website: http://www.italiantapas.it/
Hours: Monday-Friday 5pm-12am, Saturday and Sunday 12:30pm-12am

An Acquired Taste

By Sarah Mirisola and Adanna Padda

The theme at “AperiGanzo” this week was “raw food”. The aperitif was also the occasion for another special event: the “AperiArt”. This art exhibition held once a month, where an emerging artist can display their work, distinguishes Ganzo from any other restaurant.
Before the aperitivo started, the artist who was displaying his work explained the concepts behind his paintings. While we were listening to his explanation, I noticed that there was a unique and eclectic vibe at this aperitivo. The music was very up-beat and the guests were all talking animatedly, having a good time. Everyone also seemed to be happy with the food that was being served. Looking at Table 21 specifically there was a different atmosphere from the other tables, more serious and professional. The artist was sitting at Table 21 with his colleges and friends. The food that they were being served was gourmet raw food: a beef tartar on a bun, ceviche, raw veal with a fig marsala and a salad. Each of these meals being served at Table 21 was very different and they each had their own special flavor. The students working in the kitchen told us that the dishes were inspired by different regions in Italy. There were also some dishes that were not classics of Italian cuisine, but they were prepared in an Italian style. The beef tartar was very interesting to taste because it was extremely different from a cooked piece of beef on a bun and the taste of an American hamburger, which we are used to. The beef tartar was served with a sauce which had a sweet flavor. The next dish was the raw veal with a fig marsala sauce. There were radishes and garnishes on top. The taste of the raw meat had a nice contrast with the sweet fig marsala. The meal was cold and altogether flavorful. The salad was full of fruit and vegetables such as pears, carrots, and radishes. The salad was very light compared to the other raw meals being served at Table 21. The chef told us that his favorite meal of the evening was the beef tartar served on a bun. We agreed with him, that was also our favorite meal. Altogether, the meal and the vibe at this “AperiArt” were unique and engaging.

Italy loves…Cheese!

Say Cheese!

By Taryn Vasquez and Liana Zamora
Tonight, on October 16th, the theme at Ganzo’s aperitivo is: Italy loves…Cheese! but used in an unorthodox way. We were presented with three dishes. The first on the left was a one-bite dish that included a potato chip, white fish, goat cheese and a green puree on the bottom. This was personally my favorite dish because it has all of the elements and flavors a dish could have. It was crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet and savory. We also thought that this dish was also unique in that it combined cheese and fish, which is rarely ever seen together if at all. However, this particular combination happened to work very well and it is not something we would think of. The second dish was a twist on cheesecake, it was an upside down savory cheesecake. The bottom was a fruit compote, the middle was a ricotta cheese and herbs and the top was a cracker crumble. We really liked this savory take on cheesecake the flavors combined very nicely. It was not something that we had ever really thought to do before and would definitely try again. Finally, the last dish was also savory, a creme brûlée. This had more of a toasted flavor and was topped with a piece of fruit. Although this still had good flavor, it was not my favorite of all of the dishes, it did not have too much of a savory flavor as we think that the chef was trying to achieve. Overall, we really liked Ganzo and the experience it provided. There were many different drink options which all looked well put together. The other dishes that were not at Table 21 were varied: two types of pasta, different finger sandwiches, sautéed vegetables, chicken wings and a salad with octopus. We think that Ganzo is a great success and we know it will continue to be so.

Gelateria della Passera

Review by: Gabrielle Hartman, Marion Gardella, Devan Hampton, Lauren Hatteberg, Lexi Holcombe
Our group visited the establishment at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon. There were several other customers at the Gelateria, but the line wasn’t too long. The inside of the shop was charming and welcoming. There are about 20 flavors to choose from, either made with or without milk. We collectively ordered a variety of flavors that varied between a cream base, fruit base or nut base. Typically, Italians order two flavors of gelato and most of us bought two scoops because of the reasonable prices, as each scoop was only one euro. Those that were eating the fruity flavors reported that the gelato was fresh and perfectly resembled the flavor of the fruit. The gelato did not taste as if it had artificial sugars or flavors in it, but tasted like the natural fruit. The gelato that contained nuts was also reported as extremely fresh and contained fine bits of nut, both in the hazelnut and the pistachio flavors. This gave the gelato a more authentic flavor and made the texture unique without tasting artificial. The more creamy flavors were also reported as fresh and authentic tasting. The gelato has a dense texture that left the customer feeling satisfied. Overall, all the flavors that were chosen were delectable, scrumptious and satisfying.
The group decided that Gelateria Della Passera is a must go to while in Florence. The establishment may be small but it is placed in a great location, near the Ponte Vecchio, with a collection of benches outside. The all-around ambience is relaxing and refreshing simultaneously. There is no seating associated with the establishment itself, however it is on the corner of a piazza with public benches for seating. We all agreed that this is one of the most authentic gelaterias we have had the pleasure of trying in Florence. The flavors are packed with flavor without tasting artificial and there are Italians visiting the shop. The woman working the counter appeared to have a developed relationships with other customers coming in, indicating that this Gelateria has made a lasting impact on the surrounding community. Locals, both children and adults, are the main clientele of this gelato shop. Definitely a gelateria to try, as its outstanding reputation and award-winning gelato precedes itself!

Gelateria della Passera
Address: Via Toscanella 15/R
Tel: 055 291882
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12:00am-midnight. Closed Mondays