The Medieval Florence had very simple foods, linked to its territory, mainly based on bread and vegetables: the garlic bread (bread, olive oil and salt), the chestnut cake (bread of chestnuts with pine nuts, olive oil and rosemary), the bread soup (as the “Ribollita” and the “Panzanella”), and the sweets, also made with bread, grapes and sometimes with the addition of sugar, as the “Pan Ramerino” of Florence.
The economic rise began in 1400 AD, bringing to Florence a wide variety of foods: beans, cooking oil, meat Chianina beef, chicken, vegetables, river and sea fish (that was preserved thanks to the creation of underground ice houses where ice was produced). With the dynasty of the Medici family from 1400 AD to 1700 AD Florence lived an fantastic period, becoming the capital of the Renaissance thanks to many incredible artists who lived and worked there.
The Florentine cuisine became rich and sumptuous. On the richly set up tables the fork appeared, about 200 years before it was being used in France. Legendary banquets were organized for political happenings and many important influences coming from other countries, especially from France, mingled with the Florentine tradition, especially on the tables of the nobles.
From the Americas a new food came into the Florentine cooking forcefully : the bean. Tomatoes and potatoes, that were before considered as ornamental plants, now were starting to be cooked, and it was in Florence that chefs began to produce an icy drink (with ice coming from ice houses that were located in the undergrounds of the Boboli Gardens) with milk and honey, which was spread in the whole world with the name of “ice cream”.
Towards the end of 1800 two writers and gourmets, deep connoisseurs of traditional Tuscan cuisine, published some important works: Pellegrino Artusi wrote the book “The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well”, a cornerstone of the Tuscan culinary tradition, and Giulio Piccini published the “Christmas Gastronomic Almanacs”.
CREDITS PHOTO: Toscana Promozione, www.turismo.intoscana.it