Finally a weekend where shoving endless amounts of samples in your mouth and sneaking back around for seconds is completely acceptable. The 9th edition of Pitti Taste has created the perfect event for all the food, wine, and beer lovers of the world, bringing nearly 300 gourmet producers from around Italy to Florence. We admit to being pretty greedy when it comes to bottomless samples; we will just eat whatever it is, no questions asked. For all we know we could of been eating the head of a pig, and we wouldn’t of even cared as long as it was included in the €15 entrance and tasted good. That is pretty much how our day began at Taste.
Here’s an inside look at the crazy-delicous things we consumed that day, no questions asked until after they were eaten.
1. “Testa in Cassetta” – Macelleria Salumeria Giacobbe, Liguria
As crazy as this looks, it was, by far, one of the most amazing things that I had ever tried. This lovely looking slab of meat is a pig’s head with the bones taken out, boiled for six hours, and sprinkled with a dash of salt. Seems easy enough to prepare… dinner party anyone?!
Another delectable item by the same company, salty lard spread (tastes like butter) infused with aromatic herbs!
2. “‘Nduja” – L’Artigiano della ‘Nduja: Calabria
This hunk of spicy cured meat is referred to as ‘nduja, a mixture of pork lard, cheek, pancetta, salt, and chili peppers that really give your taste buds a kick. It’s a spreadable salami and tastes amazing on crackers or bread; I actually had it on my pizza for lunch one day!
3. “Mortadella Classica” – Bonfatti Salumi: Emilia Romagna
To save you from turning into to a vegetarian, I will spare you the explanation of how this is made. All I’ll say is that it’s basically bologna’s high-class Italian cousin, encased in a cow’s bladder. For all the meaty details, check out Intern Muzzi’s article.
4. “Vinaigrette al Tartufo Nero” – San Pietro a Pettine: Umbria
Good news! We’re done with the meat part of my adventure and moving on into the world of truffle goodness (not the chocolate kind, the tuber kind). I could of drank this entire bottle of truffle vinaigrette alone! The earthy flavor was so powerful and yet so light and tangy in liquid form. I have been in love with truffles ever since I arrived in Italy, and this company was truly paradise for truffle lovers. They also produced a chocolate hazelnut truffle spread. UNREAL. I wanted to just camp out at this booth the whole weekend, but I had work to do 😉
5. “Olio Extravergine di Oliva” – Mate: Croatia
Olive oil drizzled on top of yogurt gelato?! It was the greatest thing I have ever had. It totally beats any traditional topping. If you have never tried it, I strongly suggest you pick up a good quality olive oil and and get to drenching some plain frozen yogurt. Life changing!
I don’t know about you guys, but I never thought a day filled with pig’s head, spreadable meat, cow bladder bologna, and lard would end up being some of the greatest tasting treats I have ever tried. If there’s one thing I learned at Taste (which I think can be applied travel in general), it’s that you have to put the thought of what a new food is aside and just eat it! You can trust the locals. And if you don’t — you’ll be missing out!