In Tuscany we eat many soups made with bread and vegetables that, depending on the season, are cooked with different ingredients: like all traditional recipes, each family has its own particular way of cooking them, but the base always remains the same.
In the colder months, a recipe that cannot be missed is the ribollita, (dish based of bread, cabbage and beans) which owes its unmistakable taste to black cabbage - an ingredient that only gives its best after the first winter frosts; summer, on the other hand, when the tomatoes are ripe and juicy, is the right time for pappa al pomodoro (soup made with tomato and bread) which is seasoned with a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil and some fragrant basil leaves; for those who prefer something even fresher, the panzanella is the most suitable dish: stale bread soaked and squeezed, juicy tomatoes, fresh onion and basil: once tasted it will be impossible to do without it.
Although the best-known recipes are mostly vegetarian, one of the most famous dishes in Florence is undoubtedly the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak): Pellegrino Artusi wrote "The Florentine steak is a chop with its bone, one finger or one and a half fingers thick, cut from the loin of the veal". Today the measurements have changed and the Fiorentina cannot be under 4-5 fingers: its typical T-shape remains - given by the bone - and the specific cut of the loin.
The type of meat is necessarily chianina beef, but maremmana, marchigiana and romagnola are also tolerated.
Cooking is strictly medium-rare and over charcoal, if you ask any Florentine restaurateur to bring a well-cooked steak to the table you’ll get into trouble!