a friend, a feline, and lots of formaggi, in Firenze

When I contacted my friend Scamorza about meeting up during my short stay in her hometown of Florence, Italy, she invited me to have lunch at her new place in Prato, which is roughly the Jersey of this region. After a tour of the pad she shares with her ragazzo Danby, Scamorza made me a giant plate of pasta with pesto finto (fake pesto, or really one made with tomatoes rather than something green). I’m sure there was some cheese in the sauce, but it was the next course that I knew I’d have to feature here.

40.369-ctmy45-i due pecorini

First, Scarmorza brought out two types of pecorino. The one on the left was considered to be more ‘fresh’ while the other definitely had some age on it, perhaps it was left in a cave? I kept shaving off bits of each, but I can’t say that I preferred one over the other. Each was distinctively delicious!

40.370-ctmy46-robiola nonno nanni

Scamorza also brought out some fresh cheese, this Robiola to the right, that came in a foil-lined plastic container. The name Nonno Nanni reminded me of ninnananna, which is the Italian word for lullaby, but turns out it’s just the nickname for the cheesemonger who first developed this variety of Robiola.

40.371-ctmy47-robiola sul pane

This cheese was, as you can see in the picture on the left, very soft and we enjoyed spreading it on some Tuscan bread that Scamorza had also placed on the table. The family of both was mild but still pleasant. Throughout our lunch, we had been entertained by the antics of one of her cats, Sigi, see below, who firmly believes that the dining table is his domain, and he was kind enough to momentarily share it with us.

40.366-pomodori e gatto

After leaving Sigi & Scamorza, I returned to Florence, dashing all over the compact city in an effort to soak up as much as possible. At one point, I found myself in a far flung southeastern corner of town, where I spied this shop below.

40.381-ctmy48-bottega di formaggi a firenze sud

I think it probably caught my eye because I saw the sign for Cheddar, which was a cheese nearly impossible to find when I first came to Florence 20 years ago! (And yes, I know the Italians have so many other wonderful formaggi but when you’re 19 and homesick, you might just hanker for a hunka cheddar.) Anyway, I didn’t go inside this shop, but if I ever end up here again for an extended stay, I now know where to come for good cheese in the Oltrarno neighborhood. I also liked that they were advertising Burrata, that creamiest of Mozzarellas, flown in from the south on Mondays. Take note!

And soon, I will be leaving the Boot, but I’ll try to squeeze in a bit more cheesy fun before I have returned ‘cross the big pond to my home in New York. Check back soon!


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