Welcome to CiboChat!

CiboChat is the Food and Culture blog of FUA-AUF Florence University of the Arts-The American University of Florence. 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!



Tutto Toscana 2023: Gala Dinner Menu

Cantabric anchovies are part of this year's gala dinner menu.
Farmer butter and salted cantabric anchovy on turmeric bread.
One of the antipasti rom this year’s gala dinner.

The Tutto Toscana Gala Dinner stands out as a celebration of Tuscan cuisine that captures the essence of this remarkable region. This year’s theme, “Aroma of Tuscany,” has students taking center stage in the development and execution of this extraordinary culinary extravaganza.

Creating the Menu

The menus for the Tutto Toscana Gala Dinner are meticulously crafted by the chefs at the James Beard Culinary Institute during the summer months, following the precise timing indicated by James Beard himself, one of the masters of American cuisine. However, what truly makes this experience special is the involvement of the students, who become the true protagonists in recipe testing and execution in the James Beard style.

Students have the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in their courses, working alongside the chefs to perfect each dish on the menu. This hands-on involvement allows students to refine their culinary skills and contribute significantly to the creation of an exceptional menu.

The Tuscan Experience

Guests at the Tutto Toscana Gala Dinner can expect an authentic and engaging culinary experience that captures the essence of Tuscany. The flavors remain true to the land of origin, with a variety of traditional and innovative dishes that evoke the unique atmosphere of the Italian region.

The evening culminates in the “gala dinner,” a highlight of the event where guests can fully immerse themselves in Tuscan culture and cuisine. The food is prepared using high-quality ingredients and presented impeccably to provide a memorable culinary experience.

Special Ingredients

One of the highlights of this year’s menu is the pairing of turmeric-infused bread with butter and Cantabrian anchovies. This flavor combination offers a tasty introduction to the Tuscan dishes that follow and demonstrates the creativity of the chefs and students in blending tradition and innovation.

The Must-Try Dish

Among all the outstanding dishes that make up the “Aroma of Tuscany” menu at the James Beard Culinary Institute’s Tutto Toscana Gala Dinner, one of the most intriguing is the broccoli cannelloni. The pairing with shrimp and almond curd creates a unique and satisfying combination of flavors and textures. This dish represents the bold and creative approach of the James Beard Culinary Institute to Tuscan cuisine, highlighting the versatility of local ingredients.

In conclusion, the Tutto Toscana Gala Dinner at the James Beard Culinary Institute offers an extraordinary opportunity for students to put their culinary skills into practice and for guests to immerse themselves in an authentic and captivating culinary experience. With student involvement, special ingredients, and unique dishes, this evening promises to be an exceptional culinary event that celebrates Tuscan cuisine in all its splendor.

TuttoToscana 2023: The student team

Here’s the team of students involved in the program for the 2023 edition of TuttoToscana:

Lauren Tippen

Emily Decking

Sofia Gigliotti

Bryan Berkowitz

Megan Sullivan

Fabiana Chavez

Samantha Farr 

Breanna Williams

Asherdee Diamond 

TuttoToscana 2023

Pastry chef Simone DeCastrois ready for Tutto Toscana 2023

The TuttoToscana team is getting ready to host a week full of events between the 25th and the 29th of September. We’ve asked Simone DeCastro, the Apicius faculty member who is leading the program, to share some insights into this year’s organization.

How does it feel to be back organizing TuttoToscana?

Organizing Tutto Toscana is always an emotional experience. I love this program; it’s always a great challenge for me and for the students involved. Even if they make mistakes at times, it’s all part of the process, and we work together to learn from them. At the end of the program, you can see the look of satisfaction and pride in their eyes. This kind of opportunity offered by Apicius at FUA-AUF is unparalleled.

What can we expect from the 2023 edition of TuttoToscana?

As always, the theme changes, and everything changes… but this time we really want to make ourselves heard. We want to talk about our land, our Tuscany, what it offers, and what it gives to us. This special program will be a week in New York City, full of appointments, including four events that will showcase who we are, what we teach, and what represents us.

What is the theme of this edition?

This year, the theme is “Aroma di Toscana.”

What’s the inspiration for this year’s menu for the gala dinner?

The gala dinner will be a culinary journey that will immediately transport us to the Tuscan hills. Each one of the dishes represents an aspect of Tuscan culture and the care of the ingredients used.

Is the student team ready to embark on this adventure?

They are very ready. Our students have been carefully selected and are ready to face this wonderful experience.

Anything you want to tell the readers of Cibochat?

I just want to say that it is an honor for me to be part of this adventure. I am proud of my students, and I am also proud to be a member of this institution that breaks down any cultural barriers, allowing the students to challenge themselves and to open up to new possibilities.

Learn more about our TuttoToscana program here.

Fish & Chips 2.0

Fish and chips, a beloved British classic, has made its mark worldwide with its crispy goodness and satisfying flavors. Apicius’s faculty and students developed this version 2.0 taking on this iconic dish to the next level by infusing it with colorful veggies and a touch of extra seasoning. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we explore the elements of this reimagined fish and chips recipe, featuring a batter foam that adds a unique twist, a vibrant yellow bell pepper fluid gel, perfectly cooked potatoes, and an array of mouthwatering accompaniments.

Batter Foam


  • 190g 00 flour
  • 190g rice flour
  • 20g rice flour
  • 20g smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 300ml sparkling water
  • 300ml beer


  1. Mix the 00 flour, rice flour, smoked paprika, and honey together in a bowl.
  2. Gradually add the sparkling water and beer while whisking to create a smooth batter.
  3. Strain the batter mixture into a siphon.
  4. Charge the siphon with 2-3 CO2 cartridges, ensuring proper aeration.
  5. Refrigerate the batter foam until ready to use.

Yellow Bell Pepper Fluid Gel


  • Juice of bell peppers (white parts and seeds removed)
  • 100ml water
  • 2g sugar
  • 3g salt
  • 0.5g locust bean gum (0.1%)
  • 1.5g agar agar (0.3%)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar


  1. Combine 400ml of bell pepper juice, 100ml water, sugar, and salt in a pan.
  2. Disperse locust bean gum and agar agar in the mixture and bring to a boil for about 1 minute.
  3. Let the mixture set and cool down.
  4. Puree the mixture, adding white wine vinegar for a fluid gel texture.
  5. Strain the gel to achieve a smooth consistency.


  1. Peel and cut a potato into wedges. Cook sous vide with a solution of water, 2% salt, and 1% sugar at 90°C for 40 minutes.
  2. Allow the potatoes to cool completely before deep frying at 190°C until crispy (approximately 5 minutes).


  1. Filet and skin your chosen fish. Season with salt, white pepper, ginger powder, and garlic powder.
  2. Slice the filet into desired sizes.
  3. Flour the fish and dip it into the batter foam.
  4. Deep fry the coated fish slices at 190°C until golden and crispy.

Red Onion


  • 500g red onion, quartered
  • 100g water
  • 100g vinegar
  • 100g strawberries
  • 3g salt
  • 100g sugar


  1. Create a mixture of water, vinegar, strawberries, salt, and sugar.
  2. Cook the mixture sous vide at 80°C for 40 minutes.
  3. Cool the mixture and marinate the quartered red onions in it.
  4. Allow the onions to marinate, preferably overnight, for optimal flavor infusion.

Assemble everything on a plate and you’re ready to enjoy your Fish and Chips 2.0!

Spaghetti with Smoked Red Pepper Cream and Mediterranean Anchovy Oil

Experience the captivating fusion of Mediterranean flavors with this delightful recipe for Smoky Red Pepper Pasta with Mediterranean Anchovies and Mozzarella. This dish combines the smokiness of red peppers with the richness of mozzarella and the unique umami of Mediterranean anchovies. Topped with a zesty parsley dressing, this pasta creation promises a symphony of tastes that celebrate the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean anchovies, chopped
  • 200g mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking and drizzling

For the Smoky Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Parsley Dressing:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Smoky Red Pepper Sauce:

  1. Preheat your grill or broiler. Place the red bell peppers on a baking sheet and roast until the skin is charred and blistered, turning occasionally. This will take about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them sweat for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin, remove the seeds and stems.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted red peppers, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until you achieve a smooth and vibrant sauce.

Parsley Dressing:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the fresh parsley leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until you achieve a smooth and zesty dressing.

Cooking the Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Pour the smoky red pepper sauce over the cooked pasta and gently toss to coat every strand with the rich flavors.

Assembling the Dish:

  1. Divide the sauced pasta among serving plates.
  2. Scatter the chopped Mediterranean anchovies and cubed mozzarella over the pasta.
  3. Drizzle the zesty parsley dressing over each plate, infusing the dish with vibrant freshness.
  4. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley leaves for an added pop of color and aroma.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Mediterranean anchovy oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes, for optional heat


Smoked Red Pepper Cream:

  1. Preheat your grill or broiler. Place the red bell peppers on a baking sheet and roast them until the skin is charred and blistered, turning occasionally for even cooking. This should take about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. This step helps the peppers sweat, making it easier to peel off the skin. After 15 minutes, remove the skin, seeds, and stems from the peppers.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted red peppers, heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour the red pepper cream into a saucepan and gently heat it over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow the flavors to meld together while you prepare the pasta.

Mediterranean Anchovy Oil:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the anchovy oil with a pinch of freshly chopped parsley. The anchovy oil is packed with flavor, so a little goes a long way.

Cooking the Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it directly to the pan with the smoked red pepper cream. Toss the pasta gently to coat it thoroughly with the creamy sauce.
  3. Divide the pasta among serving plates. Drizzle a teaspoon or two of the Mediterranean anchovy oil over each plate. You can adjust the amount according to your taste preference.
  4. If you like a bit of heat, sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes over each plate for an added kick.
  5. Garnish the plates with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley to add a burst of color and freshness.