An Antipasto Lunch in Florence

On my recent vespa tour through Tuscany, we took a break for a light, traditional Florentine lunch with Alberto and his mother Giuseppina. My guide Freddie tells me Zeb Gastronomia is a real local favourite in Florence (and when a food shop has gastronomia in its name, there is no passing by this one!)

A typical Florentine lunch can be very simple like antipasto. Traditionally, antipasto is the first course before a larger meal but it can also make for a light mid-day munch. Antipasto is usually made up of cured or salted meats with different cheeses and vegetables that are grilled or even pickled (in oil or vinegar) like mushrooms, eggplant, artichoke hearts, red peppers, or green beans. It’s often served on large platter dishes for sharing. Not finding antipasto on a menu in Tuscany is very rare. In fact, it has become a popular meal all over Italy where lunch is traditionally light, healthy, locally produced, and usually paired with a glass of local wine (in Florence, it’s Chianti!)

Antipasto dishes


Alberto serving up delicious dishes from his gastronomia


Alberto and his mom serve up locally produced antipasto here. Although salame, soppressata, and prosciutto are delicious cured meats, bresaola happened to be my favourite – an air-dried salted beef aged for a few short months, with a lean, sweet taste.

Locally cured meats with my favourite, bresaola


Believe it or not, I never used to like cheese. Until I started travelling to Italy. My first love of cheese was parmigiano, shredded in a big bowl of pasta fagioli from a little trattoria by the Spanish Steps in Rome. In Tuscany, I fell for burrata, a heavenly soft-textured cheese with a milky flavour that pours out creamy goodness when you cut into it right down the middle. It’s made from Italian buffalo, cow’s milk and and mozzarella strings so it’s not at all dense and strong like most cheeses. Best part of all, this cheese is supposed to be eaten within 24 hours. Isn’t it great when food actually has an expiry date in the same lifetime? Food here is undoubtedly fresh and unpreserved.


Fresh and unpreserved! Burrata is the one in the middle


Locally grown grilled veggies


Alberto has an entire wall of just wine!


Alberto greets you with a genuine smile when you walk in but by the time you leave, you could get the ol’ Italian double-cheek kiss like you’re one of the locals!


Meet Alberto!


How to get there: It’s a good walk away from the city centre across the Arno, but well worth it. Via San Miniato, 2 rosso, Firenze



Grazie to Walkabout Florence for helping me discover these delicious local dishes. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.