Hi from Rick: A Forkful of Florence
The joy of my work is finding ways for our travelers to connect with a destination's art, people and cuisine...it's all about the culture. Working in Italy — especially Florence — I particularly enjoy the help of local guides in reviewing the hot restaurants and choosing the best for our travelers.
After a torrid evening of blitzing the many restaurants on my list, I treat myself and my local guide to dinner at the place that looks the most fun. Tonight's pick fills a brick-vaulted cellar, or buca. Many restaurants are called "Buca" this or that. Since a buca traditionally paid cheap rent, it served cheap food. But now, with European Union regulations creeping into just about everything, no new restaurant licenses can be issued for cellars (bad ventilation, no fire escapes). The few remaining, with licenses grandfathered in, have gone upscale. While no longer cheap, they are great places to savor the local cuisine.
My guide (Giuseppe) and his wife (Anna) joined me and we let the chef shower us with his best work. The red wine was almost like a drug, evoking flames and dancing girls. And the food tasted as delightful as it looked. Anna greeted each plate with unbridled enthusiasm.
Suddenly, Giuseppe looked at me and said, "My wife's a good fork."
Misunderstanding him, I blushed — amazed at what I thought he'd said. Giuseppe quickly clarified, saying, "Una buona forchetta...a good fork...that's what we call someone who loves to eat!"
So I guess I'm one, too. These are the kinds of encounters with local friends, food and culture that make travel — and our tours — so unforgettable. I hope you can join us at the table soon.