Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Much more than a typical T-bone steak

When people think of Italian food, pasta and pizza are usually the first things that come to mind. When you think of Florentine food, the first thing you should think of is Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Although you might argue that bistecca is just steak, any true carnivore would realize that it is so much more. For a traditional Florentine steak, the meat must come from Chianina cattle. Chianina cows are the largest breed in the world, and one of the oldest. Originating from Valdichiana, the Chiana Valley, Chianina are native to both Tuscany and Umbria. The cut for a bistecca alla Fiorentina is always short loin, with strip steak on one side of a T-shaped bone and tenderloin on the other. The meat is served rare with nice char marks on the exterior from cooking over red-hot coals. The short loin from a Chianina is gigantic so bistecca is priced by weight at around €25 a lb. As a small portion of bistecca usually weighs a pound and a half, you should definitely plan on ordering it with at least one other person. If you love the pure flavor of a thick slab of red meat, bistecca alla Fiorentina is the best you will have and, seasoned only with olive oil and a little salt and pepper, it’s certainly the most pure.