Procacci Context Travel is one of my favorite tour companies in Italy when you are looking for a high quality, small group experience. I like that they offer unique tours with exceptional guides. The tours go far beyond the standard highlights. They offer insight into various aspects of Italian life and history: garden tours, wine tastings, tours focused on a certain period of history and in my case on Tuesday, “Florence for Foodies”. Our guide Adrienne hit all the hotspots. You know, the classics are the classics for a reason. You should try them especially when they come recommended by locals. And most particularly when those locals are Italians. Italians don’t mess around when it comes to food. They are very picky about it and insist on the highest quality, so they are always a good resource. Of course we indulged, but on a walking food tour all the calories are negated, right? We had mini panini with truffle butter at the famed Procacci, torta di ricotta at Gilli, and Cecina (a chickpea pancake cooked in the wood burning ovens of the bakeries) – heaven!
I did notice that the more “adventurous” traditional foods – tripe and crostini with chicken livers – were left off the tour. I suspect it’s because they do not appeal to most Americans and that food was being wasted. If these are on your must try list, you will have to do those on your own. At our penultimate stop, a lovely little grocery, we munched on salami, cheese and olives while Adrienne gave restaurant suggestions. I imagine that the success of the tour (as with any tour) is largely dependent on the members of the tour. The max on a context tour is 6 so you don’t feel like you are an intrusion in any of these small places. There were only three of us on this particular tour and I was I impressed that Context chose to run the tour – kudos to them. The others were a lovely couple from Chicago who were in Italy for the first time. I think they really enjoyed it. My advice: come hungry, plan on a light dinner and enjoy! Adrienne offered wonderful insight into the traditions of florentine cuisine. If you travel with L’Esperta to Florence, we can certainly incorporate this or one of their many wonderful tours into your trip. If you are traveling on your own, you can connect to them with this link and search their fabulous catalog of offerings. Buon appetito!!!