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Don't leave Florence without tasting the real 'Fiorentina'.

From 30 September to 2th October, the first 'Steak Festival' will take place in Florence, with a program full of events, and with no less than 12 meters of grills, for all the enthusiasts and curious of the beloved queen 'ciccia' .
But the Florentine steak is also synonymous with Florentine culinary history and tradition, which pairs with the Duomo and the Uffizi in terms of fame and success. It is therefore a pity not to taste it at least once if you come to Florence!

To recognise a real Bistecca Fiorentina, you first need to know a few things. Start with the raw material, i.e. the type of meat used, which is the first element to take into consideration if you want to taste the real Florentine 'ciccia'. In fact, the cut of the sirloin indicated, must be strictly T-shaped, and specifically refer to the 'Chianina' breed of veal, (although today also Maremmane and Marchigiane are allowed) and with a thickness that is not less than 4-5 fingers and at least 800 grams, to be shared at the table. Finally, the cooking method indicated is expressly rare and on embers, as the true purists understand it. And with little coarse salt.

In a historical description by the famous writer Pellegrino Artusi, this is how the well-known dish was declaimed:

"The bistecca fiorentina is a chop on the bone, a finger or a finger and a half thick, cut from the loin of veal."

A unique dish, rich in flavors and history that finally finds a space of its own, thanks to the idea of the first Steak Festival, which will begin in Florence next 30 September until 2 October, in a long weekend of grilling and culinary wisdom of the iconic Florentine food. But steak, the calling card of the city of Florence and of Tuscany in general in the world, opens up to discussions of various kinds, both in terms of quality, portfolio and the segment concerning respect for the environment and those who choose to no longer eat meat.


We therefore ask ourselves: what future awaits the infamous Florentine steak and whether it will always be possible to taste it in the City of Florence's restaurants?


The culture of the most famous Tuscan 'ciccia' in the world

"Love lives not only on sentiment but on steaks."

Carlo Dossi


The international fame of Fiorentina al sangue (T-bone steak), apparently stems from the Medici family in 1565 in Florence, who, for the celebrations on the night of San Lorenzo on 10th August, decided to share this meat with the entire city population, creating a tradition and subsequent legend around the origins of the beloved beefsteak. While the term itself, would derive from the presence, on that occasion, of some people belonging to the English socio-cultural elite, who at the sight of that meat shouted out 'beef-steak' to be enjoyed. The Florentines later transformed it into 'Bi-steak' (bistecca).


Also from Pellegrino Artusi's famous culinary book, 'Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well', the preparation and cooking are recounted as solemn odes to good food, in a poetic tale and manifesto on the passionate encounter between taste buds and sentiment:

“…put it in a griddle over a blazing coal fire, as naturally as it comes from the beast, or at most wash and dry it: turn it over several times, season it with salt and pepper when it is cooked, and send it to the table. It must not be overcooked because the beauty of it is that, when you cut it, you throw abundant gravy onto the plate…”

The division of the bone between tenderloin and sirloin, revealing its famous T-shape, (among the best known and most selected areas, we find: the shoulder, rump, belly, rump, sirloin, rib, although the sirloin is the only original one) is the true excellence and peculiarity of the so-called 'Chianina PGI', in the sense that it is the autochthonous area of the 'Val di Chiana', from which it derives its name.

Mainly reared on pasture, and well fed, the white calf of the Central Italian Apennines, certified and under the protection of the 5R mark, has now become synonymous with the excellence of Italian cuisine throughout the world, and is even rich in certain health-promoting values:

  • similar to white meat and fish due to its digestibility;

  • rather lean, and with an amount of fat only in the inner muscular part;

  • the ratio between unsaturated and saturated acids is greater than 1 and therefore decisive for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, especially if one chooses the famous 'scottona' (female Chianina under two years old, which has not had calves) which is much more elastic and bright red in color.

"I don't eat red meat, but sometimes you need a steak."

GWYNETH PALTROW


If meat is therefore a healthy source of fats, since it performs important functions for the body, and can improve markers of cardiovascular health and body composition, steak can therefore certainly be enjoyed, but always with the aforementioned right moderation and through good use in cooking, with no or little salt added.

Here it is that among the vineyards of the famous 'ValdiChiana' countryside, one can encounter the magnificent 'white giant' with its snow-white coat, which has been grazing in the area since time immemorial (it is said to have already been present in Etruscan times), and which, as 'Valdichiana Living' emphasizes, 'has above all been a precious ally for man thanks to its dual aptitude for work and meat production."


How do you cook real T-bone steak?

My favorite animal is the steak."

Fran Lebovitz


Those who come to Florence, as well as visiting the city, seek the culinary delight of the perfect 'Fiorentina' steak, a real experience, which in short should look like this:

  • dry and firm, with a blood-red color, if not also 'well-done' and grilled to the right point, as well as being presented on the plate with a good Evo oil, aromatic herbs and a good knife for cutting this special Tuscan meat.

In the 10 steps for the perfect steak of 'Cucina Italiana', proposed some time ago, we find in synthesis some fundamental steps for those who want to try their hand at 'grilling' Fiorentina at home. Here, then, are the salient moments of a true art, that of grilling, which, as reported in the same article, has nothing in common with the American culture of BBQ.

  1. Meat and the right temperature. Leave it out of the fridge covered for a couple of hours;

  2. Remove any residual moisture. Change the paper often to make it completely dry;

  3. Tenderize it before cooking. Heat it in the oven at 52° and keep it in for a couple of hours without it turning grey (Reverse Searing procedure);

  4. The meat must be dry. Make sure it is dry before placing it on a grill;

  5. Spread the heat. Lightly brush the meat with oil several times, to make the meat stick better to the grill afterwards;

  6. Preheat the grill. Set it at maximum temperature half an hour before cooking;

  7. Cook as well as possible. Brush and place it on the grill again and turn it over only when the cauterization lines have formed.

  8. Determine the ideal cooking point. If you want it rare, the temperature is 55°, medium is 62° and well done is 75°. (Use a thermometer so as not to mistake the heart of the meat).

  9. Let it rest after cooking. Move the meat to a paper board for 1 minute and then place it on the plate.

  10. Serve the steak without too much fuss. Season it only with oil, coarse salt and a pinch of pepper (if desired). And above all, serve it hot and best on a cast iron plate. Enjoy!

...And where to eat it 'well...

They told me that this is the best manger in the whole state."

Terence Hill (Italian actor) -"Trinità" - Famous Italian Movie -


In the search for the right restaurant, capable of giving us an unforgettable experience of one of the most loved dishes in the world of Tuscan cuisine, the choice is never obvious; depending on the school of thought and history of a restaurant, what tourists, and above all Italians (including Florentines) often look for assiduously, is the genuine flavor of the cooked meat and the quality that with every bite, tells the whole story of the culture of a place and above all of a people. Our suggestions, therefore, are strictly personal, and based on a single evaluation criterion, namely the genuineness of the tale 'about the Florentine steak' that passes from the plate and reaches the stomach, in a storm of emotions and senses, that leaves little room for reflection, if not the pleasure of the dish itself.


We have therefore, albeit with great difficulty, chosen the following three Florentine restaurants, all of which have in some way, found the exact combination of: passion, traditional dishes, simplicity and excellence of the product served, as well as the good service offered to the customer during their stay in these three establishments.

In conclusion, we could indicate an average cost per person of around 38/45 Euro, (with a minimum acceptable weight of 800 grams) and without taking into account at least a good glass of wine and roast potatoes to accompany his majesty the steak, which we emphasize here is worth tasting at least once if you are in Florence.


Steak Festival and 'Food Ethics

"No love is more sincere than the love of food."

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW - Writer -



This year, even steak finally has its own dedicated Festival. In fact, in its city of origin, also known as Florence the Beautiful, amidst the art, beauty and centuries-old history of an Italy of wonders, which attracts millions of tourists all year round, and which continues to make people fall in love, the reign of the world's tastiest flab is finally being recognized, by popular acclaim.

Weather permitting, since the event will be held at the Prato delle Cornacchie in the Cascine Park, next to the Florence Ernesto De Pascale Cascine Amphitheatre (a city park) and all strictly outdoors, expectations seem rather high, given that:

  • Also on the program are meetings with Tuscan breeders, Chefs and Nutritionists. Plus Masterclasses by the Accademia della Fiorentina, shows and themed initiatives.

  • Music with the rock'n'roll of Partners in Crime, the jazz of Dimitri Grechi Espinoza and traditional Tuscan songs revisited by La Nuova Pippolese, will also be the protagonists of this event;

  • On Sunday, a mega screen will also be installed for the projection of the Fiorentina-Atalanta match, for sports lovers, and above all dining in the company of the queen of steaks.

An occasion not to be missed, therefore, for those who love 'Fiorentina' and want to live a total all-round Tuscan experience.

For the next editions, however, in order for the Festival to be experienced and appreciated to the full, it would be desirable if:

  1. It would also be easy to reach by public transport, since it is located inside the Cascine park, after the hippodrome, and for those unfamiliar with the city, the difficulty is twofold; (now one gets off at the Cascine stop of the Tranvia Fiorentina to continue at least a couple of kilometres on foot inside the park, without any signposts for or hippodrome/Amphitheatre, which are located nearby);

  2. That the festival be presented during the beginning of the summer season, perhaps in conjunction with the Firenze Rocks concerts, which are held in the same area;

  3. The summer season is the best for events that take place outdoors and that can continue after 8pm.

For those who prefer not to choose meat, because they are already on a vegetarian or vegan path, or perhaps just Flexitarian (like two other popular dishes, such as Carbonara and Bucatini), a short visit to the beautiful location used for this Steak Festival is really recommended anyway, for a tour among experts and nutritionists, which can make all the difference, in terms of an ever-evolving culinary knowledge, both in the culture and tradition of the Magnificent City of Florence, which with its many merits (and few faults) tries to continue to tell the beautiful story of an entire country.


In view, then, of the increase and appreciation of new multi-ethnic cuisines on the one hand, and of risky choices of new high-protein foods and experiments on the other, the fear of a disappearance of Italic culinary traditions is unfortunately already present; However, this should not alarm us, given that in stark contrast to what has just been said, a new creed is emerging, accompanying a true 'food ethic', lucidly expressed by the author of an interesting book by Paolo Gomarasca, who wittily discusses the protection and rights that every individual has, with an analysis of the problems and solutions, related to health, nutrition and quantity-quality of food.


Once again, the future of humanity is therefore in the hands (and also in the food chosen) of individuals, who with discernment, can make a conscious choice in favor of himself and the environment.

That said, every dish has within it a world to discover. And the 'Fiorentina' is certainly the ultimate proof of this.

Now, the choice is yours.



OUTSIDERPOST recommends reading the following texts:


"L'Etica del cibo", by Paolo Gomaresca.



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