I am a vegetarian and that consequently often means that I am out of luck, especially when traveling, and it comes great tasting food. I was a little worried that moving to Italy would probably mean the same thing because I also don't eat dairy. With the exception of ice cream of course. However, I have learned that Florence is different. Tuscany has a unique history with vegetarianism. Many places created dishes that were friendly to those taking holy pilgrimage and who often had dietary tendencies that refrained them from eating meat and animal byproduct. For this reason if you are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free do not worry there are plenty of places to eat in the city of Florence and most restaurants I have gone to so far have at least one if not more vegetarian friendly options.
I heard that every Thursday night there is a themed dinner at Ganzo, a restaurant that is part of the APICIUS school of Hospitality. This week was "Embracing the Season's Vegetables" and I had to jump on the opportunity. I already had the pleasure of enjoying one of their aperitivo. For 5€ you can get a drink and all you can eat buffet! This is common in Italy so if you ever decide to visit I suggest you go to one of these.
A friend of mine got a reservation and we went together. Now if you decide to go to of these themed dinners be prepared to enjoy a 6 course dinner with wine included paired with every course. All of the food was was great but I want to highlight 3 out of the 6 courses that I enjoyed the most would have to be the welcome, Bienvenuto: welcome, Primo piatto: first course, and the Prima del Dolce: pre dessert.
The Bienvenuto was fruit and vegetable salad with an avocado base and had a nice use of texture by adding more mixing pomegranate that added sweet and crunch and onion which add a little bit of kick. It was a great way to start off the dinner and build up to the main course. I would have never thought to pair those ingredients together but it was an interesting and pleasant surprise and that was a nice use of color in the presentation that made me want to eat it more. Before I continue now, I'd like to mention that presentation goes a long way and I believe is what carried the dinner.
For the Primo piatto or first course there was a handmaid tagliatelle with vegetarian ragu and it was delicious. I love’d it! It was exactly what one would characterise Italian cuisine as: pasta! I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and I think it was my favorite hands down. It was simple and but well done.
Lastly, the Prima del Dolce. When this came out it was so well presented I did not want to eat it ,as to ruin the look of it. This was a spoon full of sorbet topped with a purple carrot chip. It was sweet, creamy, crunchy, salty, with a light aftertaste of liquorice. Tis was taken all in one bite and I think soared in terms of presentation and taste.
All in all this was a great experience and I would do it again. The service was great and run by students as well and the menu was curated by them too!
If you plan on going to one if these themed nights remember that attendance is by reservation only. Also the entire dinner was only 28€!