San Miniato is a small village located 40 minutes outside of Florence on the train to Pisa. Getting on the train can be a little tricky as my friend Linda and I found out when we found ourselves all the way in Pisa and had to turn around and come back on a train that actually stopped in San Miniato. Once we arrived at the station, we bought bus tickets that took us to San Miniato Alto, where the festival was being held. The bus let us off right in front of the gates to the festival.This truffle festival is one of the most famous in Tuscany (along with Volterra). It is a fun time, full of tastings and beautiful vistas. This was my second visit to San Miniato, and I think I will try to make it an annual event. This festival takes place over 3 weekends starting at the end of October. There are all types of food and wine. Of course, truffles are the highlight and San Miniato is famous for their white truffles. We tasted cheeses, spreads, sauces, and more that had truffles in them. There were all types of cut meats, hot mulled wine, sweets, etc. There was also a big wine tasting, where you purchase a glass for 10 euro and taste as you like. Unfortunately, we were late for that, but made up for it in cups of hot mulled wine that warmed us inside and out!It’s a great festival, a beautifully scenic hill town, and it’s close to Florence. If you get a chance, go! Even without the festival it would still be a treat!
I won’t say that Gusta Pizza has my favorite pizza, although many people will disagree with me. It doesn’t stop me from eating here often though! I usually will grab one to go and eat on the steps of Santa Croce or up at Piazzale Michelangelo. They are good, but I prefer the very thin cracker crust.The menu is limited, but the prices are great! I had this beautiful and delicious Margarita pizza and a glass of wine for 7,50 euro. What a bargain.I sat inside at a small barrel table with some other folks. Gusta is located just off of Piazza Santo Spirito, via Maggio 46R, and is opened from 11-11 Tuesday-Sunday and closed on Monday.When you enter, order at the counter and tell them whether you are staying or going, then wait for your number to be called. Expect a crowd! There always is!
Trying new foods is always one of my favorite parts of traveling! I have never been a picky eater, although my decision not to eat four legged animals 20 years ago does present some restrictions. In Turkey, they eat all types of grilled meats and fish and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Lamb seems to be one of their favorite meats.They serve small plates and dishes called “mezzes” which allow you to sample many different types of foods. Most of the mezzes are spreads made of eggplant, beans, or cheese and yogurt. The grilled meats are prepared on shish kebabs or served in pieces. Turkey is actually where the “Kebab” was invented.On the street and in the markets, you can find lots of fresh fruit stands. This time of year, the pomegranate was everywhere!We enjoyed the buffet style of eating a few times where you could actually see the food and just point to what you wanted.We drank lots of black tea, Turkish coffee, and an after dinner drink, much like ouzo called raki.
The fish was so fresh, they rolled it out on carts for you to pick your choice and then they cooked it up the way you wanted.There were lots of hot casseroles, and one night we had a dinner cooked in a terracotta vase. It was quite the show at the table when he opened it up to serve it.Sweets and desserts are every where. They have lots of dried fruit, ice cream, baklava, and pudding like concoctions that are delicious.
This time of year, the markets which have been quieter during the hot summer months return in full force. Almost every large piazza hosts them on one weekend or another.These fall markets contain mostly food items, but there are also markets for antiques and vintage clothing. At this time of year, everyone is looking for the Vino Novello and the newly pressed olive oils dark green and luscious.Whether you are buying or not, it is always a great way to spend some time on a lovely Fall day. The scents of the food vendors blow in the cool breezes and there are always samples of the goods to try. Visiting the markets while you are in Italy is an important part of experiencing the culture. These markets are not just for tourists but are the way many residents shop for fresh products and socialize with friends and neighbors.
I Raddi, is a great place to have lunch if you are on the Oltrarno. It is located at Via Ardiglione 47r, Florence, it is just off of via Serragli and near Piazza delle Carmine. Even if you make a special trip just to have lunch there, you won’t regret it. Authentic, but with a creative touch, I Raddi has great food with great prices. I have written about I Raddi before, but to my surprise it has been 2 years ago. I visit there often and am always delighted with my meal.Today I was with a crowd, so there are lots of photos for you to salivate over! Scroll your cursor over the photo for a description of the dish. They are opened every day for lunch from 12:30-3:30 and dinner 7-11. Go there and enjoy!