The Taste Fair just ended in Florence. For eight years, the event has been held in March at Stazione Leopolda, offering up the best of Tuscan and Italian food. This event has grown so much over the years that it was even reviewed in the New York Times, as an event not to be missed if you plan to visit Florence on Springtime.
“Fuori di Taste”: events in Florence
During the three days of the fair, in addition to the stands in Stazione Leopolda, there are a plethora of events around town, organized by Fuori di Taste, including an evening with cooking demonstrations by Pastificio Gentile and Riso Acquerello at Obikà Mozzarella Bar on Via Tornabuoni, oil tasting at the Boboli Garden, and craft beer and ice cream combinations at Carapina, the Ortobello market at Riccardo Barthel’s, and much more.
Tuscan excellence on display at Taste
To get back to the fair, there were many top-notch local producers, including makers of oil, cheese, meats, honey, tea, sweets, and craft beer. Here are a few of the companies that we had the pleasure of finding and tasting their wares! Remember these names if you’re traveling in Tuscany, they are well worth a stop!
Alla Gusteria: from Tavola (the town’s name, meaning “table”, already tells you where to go!) near Prato. They make jams and conserves, jellies and mostarda (a traditional fruit preserve) for cheeses. They also make some traditional Tuscan dishes in jars, including pappa al pomodoro (tomato stew), cacciucco (fish stew), ribollita (bread stew). If you like them, bring them home with you!
Alla Gusteria Via Pompeo Ciotti 3a1 Tavola (Prato).
Antica Grapperia Toscana: they are from Forcoli (near Pisa) and have been making liqueurs and spirits since 1911. Artisanal products of the highest quality. They export worldwide. Be sure to try the Grappa Chianti Riserva.
Antica Grapperia Toscana Via Meucci 2 Montanelli di Palaia (Pisa)
Antica Macelleria Falorni: those who have been to Greve in Chianti could not have failed to notice this butcher. From the local town butcher to a company that produces high quality meat and cold cuts, using local breeds (Chianina beef, wild boar, etc.) It also has its own free-range pig farm.
Antica Macelleria Falorni piazza Matteotti 71 Greve in Chiant (by Florence)
Birrificio del Forte: from Versilia, on Tuscany’s fashionable coast is a craft brewery specializing in unpasteurized and unfiltered beer, awarded at the international European Beer Star. Be sure to taste the “Mancina”, a blond beer with fruity, spicy overtones.
Birrificio del Forte: Via della Breccia Violetta 5/a Pietrasanta (Lucca)
Biscottificio Antonio Mattei: If you have ever had the chance to eat cantuccini (almond cookies) from Prato, the originals are from Mattei, who has been making them since 1858 (before the unification of Italy!). The first and the best! You can easily recognize them by their blue packaging. You can find them in many specialized shops throughout Tuscany, or in their shop in the center of Prato.
Biscottificio Antonio Mattei: via Ricasoli 20-22 Prato
Casa di Monte: A company with a history like no other. They used to make the famous Florence straw hats, then over the years, they got into farming with grains, olive oil and vineyards. Today they produce excellent food, including honey, wine and Laudemio oil.
Casa di Monte: via del Monte 6 Montespertoli (by Florence)
Caseificio Pinzani: If you love cheese, in this dairy near Volterra you’ll find only cheese sheep cheese made with “raw milk,” according to old recipes Siena. Try the Marzolino (a fresh cheese),and the more seasoned cheeses (Classic, Reserve. ..) and blue cheeses. There’s an interesting sheep cheese with “vegetable rennet”, with the extract of the flower of the thistle; and then there’s “I’divino”, a cheese aged in oak barrels!
Caseificio Pinzani: Strada Provinciale per Casole d’Elsa Montemiccioli Volterra (Pisa)
Pastificio Fabbri: If you love pasta and might want to buy a package of pasta to take home as a souvenir of your trip to Tuscany, you will be delighted to find that in Strada in Chianti there is an old pasta factory that is over 100 years old! Visiting the company is an experience as you see stretches of tagliatelle, penne and spaghetti drying slowly, as per tradition. In the heart of Chianti Classico!
Pastificio Fabbri: Piazza Emilio Landi 18 Strada in Chianti (by Florence)
Tortapistocchi: in the heart of Florence, an artisan baker makes a special chocolate: no added sugar, no eggs, no flour, and no butter. And amazingly good. Free of preservatives and GMOs, it comes in various flavors, including hot pepper, coffee, Sicilian citrus, and pears. New at Taste 2013, the Torta Elisa is a cake with fruit and Asian spices, presented in a stylish package designed by Marina Mansanta. If you get the chance, stop by their workshop. . the scent of chocolate is simply intoxicating!
Tortapistocchi: via Ponte di Mezzo 20 Firenze
We’ve got to say it: there is something for everyone’s tastes!