A few days ago I was gifted some “almost’ stale bread from a cafe located a few doors down from my job. Not everyone would readily accept over the hill bread, but I happily grabbed two loaves and knew I could find a use for them. The heartier multigrain loaf would be perfect for toast topped with just about anything-butter, jam, peanut butter or sharp cheddar from Vermont. The ciabatta got me thinking about grilled bread and in an instant I was transported back to two of my favorite Italian eateries.
Both are classified as enotecas and yes, the wine selection is clearly the star. That being said, the simple food offered at both places won me over in an instant. The first is located in the Oltrarno area of Florence (on the other side of the Arno river). Bar Fuori Porta has a special place in my heart as we discovered it on our first trip to Italy. At the time, not understanding the language, we didn’t have a clue to the difference between the selections on their menu but somehow we muddled through and enjoyed each and every bite.
La Torre di Gnicche is located right off Arezzo’s Piazza Grande. It would be easy to miss this unassuming small spot and it took me a few walks by before I ventured in. As with Bar Fuori Porta, the wine list is extensive and the menu highlights crostini, crostone, bruschette, formaggi (cheeses) and affettati (sliced meats like prosciutto, salami). I happily sat down to a plate of grilled bread topped with sauteed mushrooms and fontina cheese. I went back for more the following day.
So what did I do with my stale bread? Grilled it, topped it with burrata cheese and some cherry tomatoes that I had roasted in the oven. A drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of caper pesto and along with a glass of barbera it was almost as if we were somewhere in Italy.
December 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm
That looks sooooo good. You do make the best bruschetta that I’ve ever tasted…my first food memory from you is your grilled bread w/ fresh tomato bruschetta topping…one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm
Tea With Betty-you are so kind!!! Thank you for the compliment.
December 31, 2012 at 2:27 am
January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm
Santa-it’s pretty simple to put together and you don’t need summer tomatoes to make it.
December 31, 2012 at 3:17 am
Exactly Janie. When you recreate dishes you’ve loved from places you love and use all that passion chances are you’re going to get pretty close to the real thing. I love recreating moments like that…. Buon anno di cuore. xx
January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm
Janine-I try each and every day to keep Italy alive!
January 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm
I’ve been trying all day to log onto Yahoo to send you an email but there’s a problem. Just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year so am doing it here! Will be seeing you in italy in the Autumn Bx
January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm
B-Happy New Year to you too! I can’t wait until we’re walking through Lucca together!