I know what you are thinking.. snails? You live in Tuscany and you want to eat shelled creatures that slime their way across sidewalks after a rain shower? Well, if shrimp do the same on the ocean floor and yet we bread them, cover them in coconut and toss them in the deep frier – why not try this too!
Luckily for me, I had my first opportunity to try this very French dish recently at a really cute new French restaurant located on one of my favorite streets in town, Via dei Macci [ Sant’Ambrogio area]. I heard about the place from my friend Kristina, the yelp firenze community manager who told me that I had to go! There really aren’t any French restaurants in Florence, at least that I know about except for Le Fondue on the other side of the river. When I heard about this place and peeked into its cute interior when strolling in the center one afternoon, this bacame a must try for moi!
The cool thing about this place is that far from being t00 fancy for the common folk, they offer a pretty wide menu and a nice selection of lunch baguettes, some of which include duck and foie gras.
We opted for dinner and decided that why not go big or go home – let’s try those Escargot alla bourguignonne! I wasn’t that squeamish because well, I pretty much will eat anything at least once. Living in Italy has opened my mind to all sorts of food that I never would have touched before, including Tuscan classics lampredotto and tripe.
Our snails are pictures above and were dressed in a herb and butter sauce. We were given the surgery-like tools to open them which was way harder than I thought it would be. The actual snails though were delicious, I would try them again though it takes a little too much work than I am prepared to give on a weekend. Afterwards, we opted for fondue because who doesn’t love to dip bread in really yummy cheese.
What to drink? A dry Riesling white wine went perfect with the cheese and even after stuffing ourselves we still left room for dessert which sadly I did not take a picture of [how is this possible?!]. We got a tarte tatin [famous French apple tart that is literally to die for] and Crepes suzette – [a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier.
I am still dreaming about those desserts.
Note: The restaurant itself has only been only for a few months and I truly hope it remains in Florence for many years to come. I look forward to trying everything else on the menu, especially Chef Frederic’s suggestions. Another awesome aspect is that they have a really pretty outside courtyard that is an oasis from the chaos of Sant’Ambrogio.
*Some suggestions for the owners: Perhaps include more types of bread for the fondue, not just one type. Also it would be nice to know what kind of cheese is in the fondue :-), we had a little trouble working the flame. A little explanation can go a long way for these sort of ‘cook it yourself’ meals.
For a bottle of white wine, one portion of snails, fondue for two and two desserts, the bill came out to about 70 euros. Not super cheap but well worth it!
*They also have Tuscan dishes on the menu if you are not a fan of French food