I think we can all agree that not all bread (and pastries) are created equal. You know that feeling, as soon as you take a bite of freshly-made, warm, crispy, and delicious bread. It is a rush of pleasure flowing through your body, and your taste buds start cha-cha dancing in your mouth. It is incredibly satisfying for us humans to eat good bread.
There have been a few countries dominating the bread-making art, and Italy is certainly on top. Especially the Italian bakers in Florence, who know a thing or two about it.
The "Antica Bottega del Pane" (The Historic Bakery) in Florence, is owned by three partners and their families. One of them is my brother, Filippo.
I know what you might be thinking, how lucky am I, right? Yes, very lucky, as well as incredibly proud.
Despite the steep competition and today's shaky economy in Italy, my brother's bakery continues to strive year after year. The title "one of the best in Florence" is affirmed not only by the satisfied repeat business of the locals, or crowds of hungry tourists reading the five-star reviews online, but also by the continuously expanding list of prestigious hotels and restaurants in Florence including the Four Seasons, Baglioni, and Enoteca Pinchiorri.
What is this family business' secret? Hard work, quality ingredients, decades-old secret recipes, and traditional, no-shortcut techniques. And above all: love, passion, and pride in what they do.
Hard work 24/7:
Obviously, when Viktoria and I visit my family in Florence, we make an obligatory "tasting" stop in one of their locations. And yes, their bread and pastries are simply amazing. Every time I see my brother, he has a smile from ear to ear, and you can't tell that he woke up at 3 o'clock that morning to assist with baking, delivering, selling in the shop, or managing the business' finances. He works seven days a week, even Sunday, which is usually a day off for bakers. There are no days off in this bakery; the bread is made fresh at all hours of the day, every day, "from scratch."
This is one of the few bakeries in town that use grains from Tuscany exclusively and flours guaranteed by the Tuscan mills to the bakers, adhering to the Consortium. The soft wheat is grown in various areas of Tuscany, including the provinces of Livorno, Siena, Arezzo, Grosseto and other areas that have distinguished themselves for their cultivation of soft wheat. The certified varieties of wheat are "Centauro, Libra, Serio, Verna, Pandas, Mieti, Mec, Marzotto, Bolero."
At the "Antica Bottega del Pane", the production of bread follows the specific guidelines of the "Pane Toscano DOP" (Tuscan Bread of Certified and Guaranteed Production). Bakers must only use flour, water, and natural yeast. They must naturally leaven the dough, although you may be surprised by how it is generally accepted by most other bakeries to accelerate this process. The result is a bread with high nutritional and organoleptic quality, making it easier to digest and more adaptable for longer-lasting storage.
What is there to eat at Antica Bottega del Pane? Each of their three shops offers an excellent variety of products including panini, bomboloni, pizza and many kinds of bread, pastries, and desserts. It is a guaranteed feast for your eyes and tastes buds. But don't just take our word for it, go and see for yourself. You will understand why so many people flock to have lunch and get bread and baked goods there.
When you visit, don't forget to mention that Sam and Viktoria sent you. We don't get a commission, but we will have the pleasure of knowing that you have been taken care of in the best possible way.
This is a place you won't want to miss as you explore the city. Stop by one of their three locations.
Bakery - Via Faentina 76
Food Market and Bakery - Via Fra Bartolomeo 18
Coffee Shop - Via Vincenzo Borghini 21R
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