In the Kitchen… Cenci

Two weeks ago we were talking about Carnevale and I teased everyone with the idea of a special treat only available this time of the year.  Well here it is!  These light pieces of fried dough with a hint of vin santo and lemon then covered with a sprinkling of sugar are most commonly known as Chiacchiere (other names being: frappe, bugie, frappole, galani, frittole, or crostoli), but here in Florence we call them Cenci ‘rags’ due to their rectangular shape.


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With the drop in temperatures here in Florence, I need a soup I can eat for days that will keep me warm and fill me up.  Thankful for traditional Tuscan cooking, Ribollita should be just the dish I’m looking for!

Ribollita is a hearty Tuscan soup that is enjoyed during the cold winter months and comes from the ‘cucina povera’ (literally meaning the poor kitchen).  It is the making of really good food with simple, cheap, yet high quality, local ingredients.  Ribollita directly translated means ‘reboiled’ and that is exactly what happens.  This dish comes from ancient times when peasants would prepare a basic vegetable soup; using specifically cannellini beans, kale (variety), and ‘pepolino’ a local fragrant thyme, in large quantities to be eaten over the course of several days, hence reboiled.  Stale, saltless, bread was added to the soup in the following days to add consistency to the simple dish.


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