Above: the Ponte Vecchio at sunset (photo by Zachary Hitchcock).
My good friend Zachary Hitchcock, who resides in Hawaii, recently sent me the photo above. In May 2005 we met up in Italy, where I was meeting with a client and Zach was passing through on his way to a friend’s wedding in England.
Whenever Zach comes to visit New York, we always dine in a steakhouse together and for years, we’d talked about connecting in Florence and eating bistecca fiorentina, the famous Florentine porterhouse. These enormous aged steaks are butchered from a Tuscan breed of cows known as chianina.
These bovines, bred mostly in the provinces of Arezzo and Siena (see image above), are extremely large. For the bistecca fiorentina, the heifers are slaughtered young, before they reach full-size. The steaks are aged and then grilled served al sangue, "bloody," charred on the outside and blood rare on the outside. Zach and I enjoyed our bistecca fiorentina at La Buca dell’Orafo, a classic Florentine semi-interred trattoria, steps away from the Ponte Vecchio.* We paired it with a Morellino di Scansano, which showed nicely. (Buca is a term commonly used in Tuscany for urban eateries, which are often found in the ground floors of the palazzi like this one. Buca means literally "cavity." The Buca dell’Orafo, or "goldsmith’s trattoria," is situated in the heart of the Florentine jewelry district, in the corner of the edifice that houses the Uffizi galleries.)
Above: Zach enjoys his bistecca fiorentina. As a faux-French singer
once said of poet Apollinaire, at life’s table Zach is a big eater.
* Ristorante Buca Dell’Orafo
50122 Firenze (FI) – Via Dei Girolami
tel. 055 213619