The Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak) is a cut of veal or skunk which, together with the specific preparation, makes it one of the most famous dishes of Tuscan cuisine.
Florence at the time of the Medici dinasty (who governed Florence between the 15th and the 18th centuries) was an important crossroad for travellers from around the world. Its said that some English knights were at the celebrations in the square and at the sight of those steaks they started to shout: “beef-steak”, “beef-steak”! In their language reffering to the type of meat they were usally eating (T-bone steak). From this moment on the Florentines had Italianised the word into “bistecca”.
An alternative version makes it back to the English people, present in Florence in the 1800s, which left remarkable traces in Tuscan cuisine. They were wealthy people who could afford cuts of fine meat, such as beef steak, just like roast beef, which is also present in Florentine cuisine.
How to prepare
- The bistecca alla Fiorentina is taken from the loin of the young steer (vitellone) and has a “T” shaped bone, so it’s similar to the T-bone steak
- The big Chianina ox is one of the favorite cattle breeds used for the bistecca, many Tuscan butchers prefer other national races. Dario Cecchini, one of the most famous Italian butchers even uses the Spanish cattle
- It’s usually 3-4 cm thick and 1,5 up to 2 kg heavy
- The perfect Fiorentina steak must be well browned on the outside and be rare inside
- In most Florentine restaurants the bistecca is served for 2 persons due to its large size
Where to eat the bistecca in when in Florence?
Via del Moro, 22 – between Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Piazza Goldoni along the Arno
Watch my video how they prepare the bistecca in a Fiorentine kitchen