When it comes to making a sandwich the way they do in Florence, simplicity is key.
There are a few staple dishes that everyone tells you to go eat when you visit Florence: you have to eat a Bistecca, try the beans, drink wine, get some pasta with ragu... but one of our all-time favorite things to eat in Florence is an incredibly simple, delicious sandwich.
There is a reason why a few of Florence's signature sandwich shops, such as All'Antico Vinaio and I Fratellini, always boast long lines out of their doors. This specific sandwich style has garnered universal fame, but it's incredibly simple in its makeup: pillowy schiacciata bread, a flavorful spread, Italian meat, and soft cheese. That's it!
With a dish so simple, every ingredient matters. Popular options from All'Antico Vinaio include sandwiches like the Favolosa (salami, pecorino, eggplants and artichoke cream) or the Beatrice (beef carpaccio, burrata, arugula and truffle cream). There's a formula to follow for making these knock-out sandwiches, and here's how to do it.
In Florence, the bread of choice is schiacciata. It's a thinner, slightly chewier version of focaccia. This bread is perfect for sandwiches because it's sturdy enough to hold all of the fillings, but with a light texture and flavor that doesn't take away from all the goodies inside of it. For making it at home, focaccia will do the trick, as long as it's not so fluffy that it falls apart.
Every Florence sandwich stars a flavorful spread, and the options are just about limitless: pesto, cheese creams, aioli, or vegetable-based spreads are all contenders. Simple basil pesto is always a great backbone for Italian flavors, but you can amp up the creativity with options like caper pesto or a Sicilian tomato variety. Velvety artichoke spread is a popular choice, with a silky texture and subtly sweet flavor. Bring on some of the northern Italian flavor with Parmesan truffle cream or white truffle mayo. Peruse our virtual grocery store aisle of Italian spreads and let your sandwich imagination run wild.
The quintessential Florence sandwich always features a soft Italian cheese, like burrata, fresh mozzarella, crescenza or stracchino. To incorporate the flavor of hard aged cheeses like Parmigiano or Pecorino, sandwich shops will incorporate finely grated cheese into creams and sauces to make them spreadable.
Thinly-sliced Italian meats are the cornerstone of the Florence sandwich, and there's a wide breadth of options. Cured meat and salami options like prosciutto, mortadella and pancetta are very popular choices, but cooked ham and sliced roasted pig are often menu features as well.
And there you have it - a simple, delicious Florence-style sandwich that you can make at home. Of course, you can always add additional ingredients like arugula, tomatoes, or peppers if you want to experiment. The key is to keep it simple and let the individual flavors shine. Happy sandwich making!