An old tradition in my old neighborhood

Il Lampredottaio of Sant’Ambrogio

When I lived in Florence a few years ago, my apartment was a stone’s throw away from what is apparently one of the best places in town to get one of the most Florentine foods around, lampredotto. I never went because 1. while I’m not opposed to offal, eating the cow’s fourth stomach wasn’t really high on my must-eat list, and 2. I always just figured that I would get around to it at some later point. But when I left and moved to New York, I did so without ever trying the famous local street meat.

Last week though, during  my vacay in Italy, I went back to my old stomping grounds and finally made it to the famous lampredottaio (i.e. the lampredotto vendor) of Sant’ Ambrogio.

Panino al lampredotto, an old Florentine tradition

So what’s the cow’s fourth stomach (cause yes, they have four) like, you ask? Well, it’s not exactly pretty. With its greyish brown color (before being cooked, which it is, in a broth of onions, tomatoes and other ingredients) and its wrinkly, floppy texture, it definitely doesn’t get points for being aesthetically pleasing. But once it’s cooked, plopped on to a warm, toasty roll and dressed with a healthy drizzle of salsa verde (a tangy, flavorful sauce made of garlic, parsley, and olive oil) and a few fat drops of spicy sauce, the lampredotto panino is actually not half bad. It’s interesting. It has a slightly off-putting texture at first but the deeper you chomp into the heart of the sandwich, where all the juices and flavors have collected, it actually gets pretty good.

Had I tried it when it was just a few steps away from my apartment I don’t think it would have necessarily become my neighborhood go-to but I liked it enough to be glad I finally stopped to try it.

For another post on the Florentine street meat from a great blogger who really knows what she’s talking about, check this out. Buon appetito!

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