After doing a Streaty tour in Venice I was really keen to do another one in another of the cities they covered. Streaty have just started doing Food tours in Florence. So I was happy to be a part of the start of something, especially when it comes to food. This was a tour for me.
I met my tour guide mid-morning for a walk to the Sant’Ambrogio Market in the Santa Croce area. Here I was able to sample some local meats and cheeses from the market before heading into another outdoor Market. It was really interesting for me to see the locals go about their business in the morning buying food for their families for the week. It wasn’t as hectic as some markets I have been to so set a nice pace for the rest of the tour.
When we’d finished at the market we walked to a small food bar which was perhaps an Italian equivalent to a sushi train. The food comes out as small quickly cooked bites on little plates and it is, for most parts, finger food. Tasty, as expected!
The tour guide had a great grasp of the history of Florence. It was a pleasure to be out early morning walking around, sampling food all while listening to the local history. The tour itself took 3 hours, was relaxing and a really great experience.
I’d recommend any visitors to Florence who love food and history to do this tour. You get loads of value for what you pay and each tour can be accommodated to suit what your needs are.
The tour was run by Elisabeth whom I discovered through AirBnB experiences. Elisabeth is actually from the Netherlands but I specifically chose her to take the tour so I could gain an outsider’s perspective on living in Bologna. Elisabeth is a student and attends university in Bologna. Specifically choosing Bologna for the chance to learn more about Italian food, art and culture.
The tour took us on foot through to Bologna’s oldest chocolate shop Majani Cioccolato Boutique which was established in 1796. In Majani, I was treated to sampling 4 chocolates of which I purchased one of each to ‘take home’. None of the chocolate I purchased even left Italy as I ate it all. Too good not to. My favourite was the FIAT Cremino, a 4-layer velvety alternation of hazelnut and almond paste, with sublime creaminess.
After Majani we walked through one of Bologna’s many food markets. We sampled some Piadina’s together which was a great chance to ask a lot of questions and take in the morning ritual of market shopping by the locals. It was especially nice to have Elisabeth sit down and eat with me.
The next stop was another food market area which was quite close to the Piazza Maggiore area. The streets are lined with butchers, fruit and vegetable shops, seafood places, bakeries and traditional Italian food shops. We were also able to sample some cheese and balsamic vinegar from around the area. I really enjoyed this part of the tour and made the decision to head back later to buy some lasagne alla bolognaise which I had been eyeing off.
Wondering around for a while we purchased some Crescentins (also known as Tigelle) which are a type of small flat bread that were filled with some meats and cheeses from the local area. We grabbed our food and ended up at Osteria del Sole that from memory was the oldest of its kind in Bologna. What an amazing little place. Families gather there with their own little picnics gathered from the surrounding markets and feast together with wine purchased at the bar. We sat on a lively table of a family that was celebrating just being together. Amazing to watch and be a part of. Elisabeth purchased our wine and after talking and eating and drinking and having such a great time, I ended up buying us more wine. Of course.
Lastly, we headed off along Bolognas famous porticos to Elizabeth’s favourite gelati place. My first (of many) gelati in Italy and let me tell you it was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined it to be. The shop has an abundance of flavours to try, I settled on two after a long wait trying to decide which ones to have.
For a 3-hour tour we certainly packed in a hell of a lot and I did not need to eat breakfast (which I was advised not to upon booking) or lunch. For just under $100 AUD this tour was certainly worth every dollar spent. Not only was the food amazing but being able to head into some places I would never have thought to if I was on my own was a really great experience. For someone whom is a new local to Bologna she certainly knows its history and stories really well. Elisabeth is also lovely, vibrant and a truly charming person to be around.
I’d highly recommend booking Elisabeth for your walking food tour of Bologna.